No matter what level of sport you’re at, there are going to be programs at different phases of the success cycle. Rebuilding and creating a winning culture is something every team at every level has to do, and we saw that here on the BEK Broadcasting Network this past week.
Even at the NCAA level, teams are looking to get their program on the winning path. One of those teams is the Beavers of Minot State, who took on a team that has been perennially successful: the Mavericks of Minnesota State. And with two teams at such different phases, Mankato was heavily favored. And they showed why. But not right off the bat. Both offenses stalled out in their first drive. Then MSU-Mankato took over from their own 31 and marched down the field in five plays to cash in their first score of the game. Ricky Lloyd held onto the ball for the touchdown, as well as delivering the key pass of the drive that set up the opportunity. Ty Dennis, Trevor Nissesn, and Brent Esser were unbelievable down the field in this one, but it was Esser taking advantage here at the early opportunity.
Then, Minnesota State built on that lead with R-FR QB Ryan Schlichte. His first collegiate touchdown came on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Justin Arnold. Schlichte looked right at home at the helm of the offense, splitting time with Lloyd as part of the two-QB system that has been run so well by MSU-Mankato. It really seems like the Mavs have something special in the blue chip prospect from just down the road.
Nick Pieruccini was the other half of the two QB system with Lloyd, but his speed and nose for the endzone saw him moved to the halfback spot. And he cashed in the third score of the game to make it 21-0 Mavs at halftime. With just 23 seconds on the clock as he went in for the score, the Mavericks had clearly taken control of this game. And if there was any doubt, they opened the third with a 7 play 75 yard drive to put it out of reach. They score as time expired again, and Minot State would put one in from QB Zac Cunha. But MSU-Mankato had flexed their muscle on this road trip, they won 35-7. MSU-Mankato rose a ton in this week’s polls, and they were high to start with. The defending champs look to continue their title defense, while the Beavers look to try and take small victories and turn them into a big one.