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The Beavers return home for a twilight battle with the 20th-ranked Minnesota State Mavericks this Saturday, Sept. 25, as Minot State tries to surprise.

The Mavericks have been a powerful program over the past 12 seasons under head coach Todd Hoffner, reaching the playoffs seven times and finishing second national champions twice (2014, 2019).

The two teams have met four times before, with Minnesota State winning all four clashes, the most recent being a 62-13 victory for the Minnesota Mavericks on October 13, 2018.

Here’s a look at this weekend’s game:

LAST TIME OUT (MSUM): The 20-ranked Minnesota State Mavericks retired in the second half at home to hand Bemidji State their first loss of the season, 45-24, last Saturday.

The Mavericks’ defense was essential, pulling in a pair of interceptions that included a 6.5-yard touchdown return by Ty’Shonan Brooks early in the win.

Kaleb Sleezer added 114 rushing yards and one touchdown, while quarterback Hayden Ekern completed 5 of 8 passes for 72 yards and another touchdown for the Mavericks, who broke a 24-24 tie with three touchdowns. in the final 20 minutes and holding the Beavers just 53 yards over that stretch to glean the win.

LAST TIME OUT (MSU): Minot State lost 48-0 on the road as the day’s momentum changed in the scrimmage’s second offensive play for the Beavers when signal veteran Ben Bolinske was put to the ‘gap with an injury upsetting the game plan as redshirt-freshman Dawson Macleary led the way. Macleary finished the day completing 9 of 18 passes for 47 yards for the Beavers, and now has 14 of 29 passes for 137 yards this season.

“Obviously they all get ready to play when their number is called, but our quarterbacks each of them have a different skill set that they’re stronger in and so we had a solid game plan that involved Ben and be able to use their legs and running skills ”, Minot State head coach Mike Aldrich said. “So once Dawson got in – not that he can’t run, but he’s not as strong in that part as Ben, it really changed what we called and what we were trying to accomplish. . “

SCOUTING MINNESOTA STATE: Second-year running back Kaleb Sleezer sets the tone for the Mavericks as he’s averaging 6.3 yards per carry this season, rushing for 282 yards on 46 carries.

This productivity made it easier for the two-quarter system that the state of Minnesota uses, as senior JD Ekowa and red-shirted newborn Hayden Ekern part-time under center. Ekowa, who led the Mavericks to the 2019 National Championship game, is 21 of 57 passing for 366 yards with one touchdown and has run for 62 yards and four other scores. Ekern, who gets a taste of collegiate action for the first time as he shares time with Ekowa, has 19 of 30 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 30 yards and one touchdown.

“This is something they have been doing for the past two years”, Aldrich spoke about the two-quarter system in the state of Minnesota. “At the end of the day, if you focus too much on who that person is in a certain position, you tend to pull yourself away from us by focusing on ourselves, so we don’t want to worry too much about who their trigger is. . is; as far as we are concerned, can we align ourselves correctly, can we do what we need to do and perform correctly and eliminate our mental mistakes.

The primary target for both Maverick quarterbacks was junior 6-6 receiver Jalen Sample who had 13 catches for 282 yards and a touchdown.

THE KEYS TO THE ALDRICH COACH GAME: “I think the most important thing is being able to keep things calm for a young quarterback making his first college debut (Dawson Macleary),” Aldrich said: “And do some things that will be in his strengths to be successful.

“On the other hand, we always have to be able to put the game in our back hands, in Ali’s hands and allow him to create opportunities and create success. Can we get it started early and let our attack really grow from there.

LOOKING AHEAD: After another week at home, Minot State is back on the road next weekend for the “Beaver Battle” as they travel to Bemidji state on October 2 for a 2 p.m. kickoff. Next, Minot State returns to the friendly confines of Herb Parker Stadium for reunion weekend to host Minnesota Moorhead State University. Kick-off against the Dragons on October 9 is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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