UMC trailed 51-12 at halftime and lost 68-26
The Minnesota Crookston football team was able to put up nearly 300 yards of offense on No. 2 Minnesota State but were unable to stop the Mavericks as the the Golden Eagles fell 68-26 at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato, Minn. Minnesota State improves to 2-0 on the season while Minnesota Crookston drops to 0-2.
"Offensively, we took a big step up," said Golden Eagle interim head coach Mike Fritze. "We had some first downs in the first half. They got a safety off a bad snap and a pick six. Really, overall, offensively we played well. We had too many minus yards plays, but we had over 100 yards in rushing and a couple hundred in passing.
"Defensively, we have a ways to go yet," coach Fritze continued. "We need to do a better job of our front four getting off the ball. We gave up a couple big pass plays and we gave up a couple last week as well. I'm most proud of how our kids kept playing. That is something to build on as well."
UMC quarterback Kyle Larson (Fr., QB, Clayton, Wis.) was 11-of-19 for 169 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Larson's main target in the game was sophomore tight end Nicholas Exposito (Woodbridge, Va.), who had five catches for 56 yards. UMC's other tight end Jacob Pinder (Jr., Orlando, Fla.) had four catches for 42 yards. Forrest Dunivin (Fr., WR, Las Flores, Calif.) had one catch for 53 yards. On the ground, Keith McBride (Sr., RB, Lodi, Wis.) led the way with 13 carries for 49 yards. Tommy Smith (So., RB, Naranja, Fla.) added four rushes for 33 yards.
"Kyle Larson took a big step up," said coach Fritze. "He was more comfortable. The game was too fast for him last week. He was more comfortable sitting in the pocket waiting for things to happen. We were in more two tight end stuff. We had nine catches between our two tight ends. Kyle did a good job finding them.
"Most of the carries against their first defense was Keith McBride," noted coach Fritze. "Tommy Smith and Talo Pascal went in and had some nice runs. We have a nice balance with three different types of runners."
On defense, Ricky Jacobs (Sr., LB, Junction City, Kan.) again led the team with 11 tackles. Brody Davidson (Jr., LB, Crookston, Minn.) and Greg Lofquist (Jr., DL, South St. Paul, Minn.) each added eight tackles.
"The thing about giving up big plays, our secondary need to be filling the right gaps," coach Fritze said. "They caught us a couple times. All three of our linebackers (Jacobs, Davidson and Andrew "Rock" Hall) alternate but sometimes they are out there together. Those three played well. We need to be more consistent yet, eliminating more of the bad plays. We need to keep our focus even though we make a bad play. What are you going to do after it. That is really what we have been trying to teach to them."
The Golden Eagles performed better than the last two teams to play Minnesota State, who combined for three points during the 2010 and 2011 meetings.
Minnesota State was led by Connor Thomas on the ground, who had six carries for 75 yards and two touchdowns while Chad Zastrow had 11 carries for 84 yards. The Mavericks had 532 yards on offense led by 327 yards on 42 carries. Minnesota State quarterback Jon Wolf was 7-for-7 for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
Minnesota State's defense was led by defensive lineman Josh Gordon, who had five tackles and 1.5 sacks. Eric Clark had one interception for the Mavericks.
The Mavericks potency showed up early on Saturday as they took the first drive 70 yards to pay dirt culminating in a Thomas eight-yard touchdown run.
Minnesota State would add to their advantage quickly as Clark intercepted a Larson pass and returned it for 58 yards to put the Mavericks up 14-0 early on.
The Golden Eagles would strike on the next drive as they put together an 11-play 76 yard drive that ended in a 16-yard touchdown pass from Larson to Pinder, the first of Larson's young career. Mike Maw (Fr., K/P, White Bear Lake, Minn.) had his kick blocked to make the score MSU 14, UMC 6.
Minnesota State would start the second quarter off with another sustained offensive drive as they went 78 yards on nine plays ending in a 29-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Brozovich to Dennis Carter to make it MSU 21, UMC 6. The score would start an explosive second quarter of scoring for the Mavericks.
A Golden Eagle miscue on special teams on a botched punt snap would force Maw to retreat to the end zone where the Mavericks would get a safety to make it 23-6.
The Mavericks would add to the score shortly thereafter as Thomas went in on an eight-yard rush for his second touchdown of the game to make it 30-6, Minnesota State.
After a defensive stop, Minnesota State would make it 37-6 following a Brozovich rush for 26 yards.
The Golden Eagle offense would solve the Maverick defense again however, this time using a series of big plays. The drive began with the biggest play of UMC's young season as two freshmen, Larson and Dunivin, hooked up for a 53-yard strike to put the ball on the Minnesota State 22. Larson then hit Andrew Steinfeldt (Sr., RB, Green Bay, Wis.) for 19 yards to put the ball at the three where McBride would go in with ease for his first touchdown of the season. The Golden Eagle extra point attempt on a Joshua Perea (Sr., DB, Pico Rivera, Calif.) rush failed, making it MSU 37, UMC 12.
A couple of drives later, MSU would go 76 yards on seven plays as Wolf hit Austin Rieder for a 47-yard strike to make it Mavericks 44, UMC 12.
Minnesota State would go in one more time in the second quarter as Wolf hit Carter for 21 yards for his second touchdown pass in the game to make it MSU 51, UMC 12 going into the locker room. The Mavericks would score 37 points in the second quarter.
Minnesota State would extend their lead to 58-12 as Ra'Shon Harper put in a 10-yard touchdown rush.
The Golden Eagles would respond on the next drive, going 69 yards on 12 plays led by a couple of solid running plays from Smith and Talo Pascal (So., RB, Arlington, Texas). UMC would score as Larson and Pinder found eachother for the second time in the game for an 11-yard strike. Maw would put in the extra point to cut the deficit to Mavericks 58, UMC 19.
Sam Brockshus would hit on a 32-yard field goal attempt to extend Minnesota State's lead to 61-19.
UMC used a little trickery on their next drive as they appeared to be punting it on the Minnesota State 29, but converted running back Tyler Hansen (Jr., DB, Morris, Minn.), who also punts for the Golden Eagles, rushed 39 yards to the end zone as a little trickery worked out for UMC to make it MSU 61, UMC 26.
The Mavericks would put the icing on the cake on the next drive as Anthony Lewis went in from 17 yards out to give the final score of Minnesota State 68, Minnesota Crookston 26.
The Golden Eagles will return to action as they come home to Ed Widseth Field for a 1 p.m. meeting with Wayne State.