The University of Minnesota Crookston football team will host Minot State University for their Homecoming tilt Sat., Sept. 28 at 12 p.m., at Ed Widseth Field. the Golden Eagles are looking to make it two-straight against the Beavers, as they defeated Minot State in Minot, N.D., in 2018. Minnesota Crookston is looking for their first Homecoming victory since 2013. The Golden Eagles will also celebrate their Outstanding Alumni and Hall of Fame inductees, as well as the week's Homecoming festivities. In addition, it is the Coach to Cure MD Game, as Minnesota Crookston will be raising money to help #TackleDuchenne.

MINOT STATE (1-2, 1-2 NSIC)
AT MINNESOTA CROOKSTON (0-3, 0-3 NSIC)
SAT.,, SEPT. 21 | 12 P.M. C.T. | CROOKSTON, MINN.
ED WIDSETH FIELD
Radio: 1260 KROX AM/105.7 (Leo Blavin)
Watch: https://portal.stretchinternet.com/crk
Live Stats: https://goldeneaglesports.com/sidearmstats/football/summary

#5StoryLines
1. Can the Golden Eagles capitalize on opportunities offensively?

2. Can the defense limit Minot State quarterback Ben Bolinske?

3. Can the Golden Eagle offense exploit some of the weaknesses of Minot State’s defense?

4. Can the defense continue to get to the opposing quarterback as they have 10 sacks through three games?

5. Can the Special Teams made a difference in field position?

Golden Eagle Tidbits
1. Minnesota Crookston has been outstanding on getting to the quarterback this season. The Golden Eagles are currently fifth in the NSIC for sacks with 10. Minnesota Crookston is just four sacks shy of tying the mark for Minnesota Crookston in 2018, as they notched 14 sacks. The Golden Eagles are led by linebacker Austin Steele with 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. Joe Warner has added two tackles for loss and two sacks, while Ben Branscom has notched 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. Warner is currently tied for ninth in the conference with two solo sacks. Steele is tied for second in the NSIC with 5.5 tackles for loss, while Will Cross is currently tied for seventh with 4.5 tackles for loss.

2. The Golden Eagles are currently in the middle of the conference in total defense as they have improved vastly from last season. Minnesota Crookston allowed 432.5 yards per game in 2018. Thus far, the Golden Eagles are allowing just 376.3 yards per game, ranked 10th in the NSIC. The Golden Eagles are allowing just 4.9 yards per play and have allowed just 1,129 yards of offense to MSU Moorhead, Bemidji State and St. Cloud State. The defense will come up against an offense that is currently ranked 12th in the NSIC with 287.0 yards per game.

3. The Golden Eagles have a 2-3 mark against Minot State in the last five years. Since Minot State joined the NSIC in 2012, Minnesota Crookston is 2-5. The Golden Eagles won last year’s contest against the Beavers 29-21 in Minot, N.D., as Minnesota Crookston fended off a late comeback by Minot State to earn the win. The last win for the Golden Eagles at Ed Widseth Field was over the Beavers, 45-14 on Sat., Nov. 7, 2015.

4. The Golden Eagle offense is coming off an improved week as they tallied 306 yards of offense for an average of 4.5 yards per game. This performance came against the fourth-ranked defense in the NSIC in Bemidji State University. Minnesota Crookston had  116 yards rushing and 235 yards through the air.

5. The Golden Eagle offense has been led by both quarterbacks in Jalin Scott and Tristan Robbins. Scott accounted for 167 yards of offense last Saturday against Bemidji State, while Robbins racked up 92 yards versus the Beavers.

6. Minnesota Crookston held their own against one of the strongest programs in the NSIC North with Bemidji State. The Golden Eagles had struggled mightily in recent years against BSU as they were out-scored 125-0 during the 2017 and 2018 meetings between the two schools. Since Minnesota Crookston’s 2013 win over Bemidji State, the Golden Eagles had been out-scored 280-23. Despite the lopsided stat, Minnesota Crookston belonged last Saturday against Bemidji State, as they even had a chance to go up 17-14 going into the locker room against the Beavers. Minnesota Crookston has continued to improve in each of their games and looks poised to get in the win column soon.

7. Minnesota Crookston is looking to get their running backs more involved in the offense. Boyce Harr has paced the Golden Eagles with an average of 3.7 yards per carry with 12 carries for 44 yards. Joseph Eubanks has added eight carries for 18 yards for 2.4 yards per carry, while Alex Folz has seven carries for 19 yards for 2.7 yards per carry.

8. Minnesota Crookston’s receiving corps has been strong through the first three games. Senior Jonattan Mudd leads the way for the group with 11 catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns. Nathan Coy has also made big plays for the Golden Eagles, as he comes into Saturday with eight catches for 106 yards. Wyatt K. Shedrick, III has three catches for 80 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown grab against MSU Moorhead. Eli Solberg is coming off his first career touchdown catch from 38 yards out against Bemidji State. In addition, Andy Groebner, the team’s leading receiver in 2018, is getting back into form, as he has four catches for 65 yards this season.

8. The linebacking corps has been crucial for the Golden Eagles. Will Cross has been huge for Minnesota Crookston, as the senior captain missed most of last year due to injury. Cross, who is a team captain and outspoken leader of the group, has 34 tackles with 3.5 tackles for loss. In addition, Austin Steele has had a breakout season with 22 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks. Trevor Long, Jr. has also made an impact after moving from safety. Long has 15 tackles with one sack.

9. The special teams will look to change field position this week against Minot State. Nathan McRoberts improved from week one and is tallying 34.4 yards per punt for the Golden Eagles. He has five punts in side the 20 this season. In addition, Jared McLemore has made an impact in the kicking game. McLemore is 1-of-2 on the year with a 34-yard field goal against Bemidji State.

10. The Golden Eagles are seeking their first Homecoming victory since a 16-14 win over Bemidji State on Oct. 5, 2013. Minnesota Crookston also won on Homecoming with a 33-28 victory over Southwest Minnesota State University Sept. 22, 2012.

11. Minnesota Crookston has been huge in the first half, as they are remaining in games. The Golden Eagles are being out-scored by an average of 15.0 to 5.3. The difference in the tilts has come in the second half as Minnesota Crookston is being out-scored 22.6 to 4.7 in the second half.

12. Minnesota Crookston tallied two interceptions against Bemidji State with Osayi Onaghinor and Johnson Fallah both coming away with interceptions. Both players will look to disrupt the passing game this weekend against Minot State.

MINOT STATE NOTES

1. Minot State comes into the week averaging 17.0 points per game and 294.3 points per game offensively. They have been slightly stronger on the ground with 149.0 yards per tilt compared to 145.3 yards per game through the air. Defensively, the Beavers are 15th in total defense, allowing 465.0 yards per game. Minot State is allowing 238.0 yards per game on the ground and 232.7 yards per contest through the air.

2. The Beavers have been led by UND transfer Ben Bolinske, who is 40-of-82 through the air for 436 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Bolinske has also rushed 31 times for 119 yards and a touchdown. In addition, freshman Ali Mohamed has made an instant impact with 39 carries for 249 yards with 6.4 yards per carry. Isaiah Hall has added 111 yards on the ground. Lavante Bushnell has been the top target for Bolinske with 13 catches for 187 yards and one touchdown.

3. Defensively, Minot State has struggled. The Beavers only have two sacks on the
 season. They are allowing 31.7 yards per game. Minot State has been led by Derek Wax with 20 tackles and two tackles for loss. Tamrick Ross and Isaiah Bigby have accounted for the team’s sacks on the season.