Southwest Minnesota State 28, Minot State 23
MINOT — The Minot State Beavers came out strong, looking to “Defend the Herb” in their debut over new head coach Ian Shields, jumping in front of visiting Southwest Minnesota State 17-0 in the first half Thursday night..
But as the game wore on, second-half mistakes proved costly as the visiting Mustangs rallied to beat Minot State 28-23 on Thursday night at First Western Bank Field at Herb Parker Stadium in the NSIC and season opener for both teams.
“I thought it was nice how we started fast and our defense was really opportunistic,” Coach Shields said. “Offensively we took advantage and I thought we came out inspired and played hard and executed well.”
With the win, SMSU improved to 1-0 on the year and 1-0 in NSIC play, while the MSU fell to 0-1 overall and 0-1 in conference matchups. The Beavers look to bounce back on the road next weekend, playing at Minnesota State Moorhead on Saturday. Sept. 9.
Evan Lovett totaled 68 yards to lead the MSU’s ground attack and added one touchdown in the game, picking up 5.7 yards per carry along the way. Myles West also tacked on 39 yards on the ground.
Dawson Macleary’s most prolific target in the ballgame was Daniel Stokes, who caught five passes for 64 yards and one score. James Mintmier got in on the action in the passing game as well, hauling in three balls for 54 yards.
Ike Mikaele led the Minot State defensive effort, recording four tackles and one interception. Knylen Miller-Levi added one interception in the loss.
Both Minot State and Southwest Minnesota State forced two turnovers in Thursday’s contest, with Minot State turning those takeaways into 14 points. Minot State converted on 46.2 percent of third-down attempts on the day.
Defensively, Minot State held up fairly well against the Southwest Minnesota State rushing attack, holding the SMS to 160 yards on the ground. In part because of that stellar defense, Minot State runners out-gained their Southwest Minnesota State counterparts 189-160. The MSU defense disrupted the Southwest Minnesota State passing attack on the way to pulling down two interceptions and breaking up five SMS passes.
How It Happened
Minot State scored first with 7:09 remaining in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead on an 8-yard run by Lovett. The MSU then expanded the lead to 10-0 with a 28-yard Nate Peterson field goal.
Minot State continued to extend its lead, scoring again with 1:04 left in the second quarter to go ahead 17-0 on a 16-yard scoring toss from Macleary to Stokes.
Southwest Minnesota State, which scored on the last play of the first half, fought back to take a 28-17 lead late in the fourth quarter, then held on as Minot State got on the scoreboard again to cut into the lead and make it a 28-23 game but could not recover an onside kick attempt in the final minute.
“The big play at the end of the first half, …we had guys there we just didn’t make plays on the ball,” Shields said. “…It’s unfortunate that’s how the first half ended.”
» Southwest Minnesota State outgained Minot State 385-361 in the contest.
» Minot State had their highest scoring quarter in the second period, when they put up 10 points.
» Minot State converted 6 of 13 third downs while Southwest Minnesota State was successful on 6 of 14.
» Justin Cash punted four times for the MSU with an average of 50 yards per punt while pinning the SMS inside their own 20 one time.
» Minot State got off to a hot start, putting 17 unanswered points on the board before Southwest Minnesota State could respond.
» Marcus Martin led the SMS passing attack, completing 13 of his 28 attempts for 225 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.
» Donald Austin led the Southwest Minnesota State rushing attack with 154 yards and one touchdown.