The #8 Minnesota State Mavericks earned a convincing win by a final score of 36-0 against the Northern State Wolves at Blakeslee Stadium Saturday evening. The shutout victory is the first for Minnesota State since week three of the 2015 season when it defeated the University of Mary 48-0 at home.
Minnesota State improves to 4-0 on the season after the win, while Northern State falls to 1-3. The crowd at Blakeslee stadium numbered 4,879 fans on the day.
In their first offensive possession, the Mavericks saw sophomore running back Nate Gunn break free for a 46-yard run to get Minnesota State into the red zone. With the good field position, sophomore quarterback Ryan Schlichte rolled right and found senior Ty Dennis open in the endzone to put the Mavericks on the board. Junior kicker Casey Bednarski ran in a successful two-point conversion to put MSU up 8-0. On the last play of the first quarter Gunn powered into the endzone for a one-yard touchdown run and after a failed two-point conversion Minnesota State held a 14-0 advantage.
Midway through the second quarter, with the Maverick offense methodically moving down the field, Gunn found a hole on the left side of the line and rushed 48-yards to pay dirt to give Minnesota State a 22-0 lead. Sophomore Justin Arnold converted MSU’s second two-point conversion following Gunn’s touchdown run. The defense for the Mavericks pitched the first half shutout and junior Zach Dodge made an exclamation with a first half ending sack to maintain the 22-0 lead.
Gunn carried the ball 11 times for 119 yards and two touchdowns in the first half to lead all rushers and Dennis snagged four catches for 36 yards and a touchdown. Minnesota State had the advantage in total yards, 240 to 126, in the first half.
The Mavericks started with the ball in the second half and a kick return from senior Corey Brent gave Minnesota State the ball at midfield. After driving down the field, Schlichte found Dennis once again in the back right of the endzone and a kick from Bednarski gave the Mavericks a 29-0 lead.
With the ball being driven down the field once more in the third quarter, Schlichte hit sophomore Shane Zylstra on a fade to the left of the endzone. A successful point after try from Bednarski allowed the lead to expand to 36-0.
In the fourth quarter both defenses tightened up as the Mavericks offense sought to kill the clock while the Wolves failed to find a rhythm. With Northern State driving down the field looking to score late sophomore Dylan Jiles intercepted Hunter Trautman to give Minnesota State the win.
The Mavericks out gained the Wolves 412-216, with 254 of those yards coming from the ground game. Gunn finished the game with 123 yards on 13 carries and two touchdowns and Dennis finished the game with 54 yards on six catches as well as two touchdowns. Schlichte passed for 120 yards and three touchdowns completing 13-of-15 attempts on the day.
Senior Jerry Nash III paced the Maverick defense with seven tackles, while junior Zach Dodge notched 2.5 tackles for a loss, including two sacks.
Minnesota State continues its season on the road on Saturday, Sept. 30, as it squares off with Concordia-St. Paul. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.