Friday, October 28, 2011

LIVE CHAT: Mankato West football vs. Waconia

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Big win for MSU football

For the second straight week, Minnesota State has given up more than 500 yards of offense, yet came away with a victory.

On Thursday, it was Augustana that moved the ball with ease, but the Mavericks got some stops in the red zone and prevailed late in the fourth quarter.

Augustana's big, veteran offensive line dominated the Mavericks, and the Vikings held a 26-21 lead midway though the fourth quarter. But Minnesota State's best drive of the game yielded the go-ahead TD on a 6-yard pass from Jon Daniels to Andy Pfeiffer, two players who weren't at Minnesota State last season.

Dennis Carter scored two spectacular TDs in the first quarter, returning the opening kick 87 yards for a score, then a 53-yard run on a reverse, going to each sideline as he looked for running room.

However, Carter picked up a personal foul in the second quarter and did not play again. It's not the first time he's lost playing time because of his conduct.

Augustana running back Dajon Newell, just a freshman, had 189 yards and three touchdowns rushing, but the Vikings couldn't generate any offense on its final possession.

Augustana punted the ball back to the Mavericks with less than three minutes remaining, down a point with no timeouts, a curious call.

Then on first down at the 50, MSU was called for holding. Augustana accepted the penalty, giving the Mavericks an extra play. That extra 40 seconds was enough for the Mavericks to run out the clock.

The victory clinches at least a share of the Northern Sun South Division championship. It also puts Minnesota State back into the national-tournament picture.

The Mavericks have two games remaining: next week at Southwest and the finale at Minnesota Duluth. That final game could decided the conference championship and a berth in the playoffs.

This MSU team has come a long way this season, and with all the young talent, the future has rarely looked better.

LIVE CHAT: Minnesota State football vs. Augustana

Friday, October 21, 2011

LIVE CHAT: MSU football vs. Wayne State

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gotta love high-school athletics

Did you give Mankato East a chance to win Wednesday's football game
against Mankato West?
Be honest. Nobody, at least outside of the Cougars' locker room, thought the Cougras could pull off the upset.

That's not to demean the East program, which has struggled the last few
seasons, but the numbers didn't add up for an East victory. West was just
too powerful, having bulldozed every opponent this season.

But with seven minutes to play in the third quarter, East had cut the lead
to 14-11 and were about to try an onside kick.

That's why high-school athletics are so much more fun to watch than college
or professional.

As most know by now, West pulled away in the final 19 minutes to post a
28-11 victory, finishing an undefeated regular season with the sixth
straight Jug victory.

The victory kept West on track for its season's goals, which include a No. 1
seed in the Section 2AAAA playoffs and homefield for the semifinals and
championship game. Eventually, this team has its sights on a state
championship, but there will be some tough battles ahead in that pursuit.

East also has plenty to feel good about. The Cougars pushed West as hard as
any team this season, and despite having just three victories, East now
looks like a formidable opponent in the playoffs.

The only chance East had to pull off the upset was to use running back Tevyn Schmidt and a size advantage in the offensive line to pound the ball at the Scarlets.

It¹s too corny to say that both teams were winners Wednesday night because
that¹s not how life works. You can say that both teams should be proud of
their performances.

The winners were the 3,500 or so folks who sat at Blakeslee Stadium, some in the
protected environment of a press box, who got to watch a very compelling,
fun game.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

LIVE BLOG: Mankato East football vs. Mankato West

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A few observations from Midnight Madness

It's tough to drawn many conclusions from watching a 10-minute intrasquad scrimmage by the Minnesota State men's and women's basketball teams early Saturday morning at Bresnan Arena, but there's no reason to stay up past midnight if you're not going to try to gain a little insight.

The men's team has new nine names on the roster, four of which might be starters when the season begins Nov. 12. Connor O'Brien, who clearly has added some size and strength, will be back in the post, and he looked very aggressive and confident.

Point gurd Jimmy Whitehead will be the starting point guard, but he's out with a broken jaw and could miss games, leaving that position to redshirt freshman Travis Meinders or true freshman Kelly Madison.

Freshman forward T.J. Okafor is freakishly athletic, and if his effort matches his talent, fans are in for a treat.

Perimeter shooting looks like this team's weakness, though transfer D.J Hoskins has a good reputation as a shooter. Stephen Kirschbaum, the team's only senior, looks like the best shooter.

Speaking of shooting, the women's team showed good peimeter shooting. Newcomers Aubrey Davis, Kathleen Reynolds and Jameila Hudnell showed 3-point acumen, and with Laura Weber and Ali Wilkinson in the post, it looks like a better team.

But the last two seasons for the women's team have not been very good so it remains to be seen how the incumbents and new faces mix.

Friday, October 7, 2011

LIVE BLOG: Mankato West football vs. Rochester Mayo

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Biggest win of season for MSU football

Head coach Todd Hoffner and receiver Adam Thielen downplayed the importance of Saturday's 24-14 victory over Winona State, but there's no question it was the most significant victory of the season.

Previous wins over Northern State, Minnesota Crookston and Concordia-St. Paul only proved that the Mavericks were not a bottom-feeder in the Northern Sun.

Saturday's win against Winona State shows that Minnesota State is one of the big boys.

The defense was spectacular, limiting Winona State to just 216 yards of offense and one touchdown. The other score came on a blocked punt.

A week ago, the Warriors rolled up a school-record 677 yards of offense against Upper Iowa.

Offensively, the Mavericks won despite three interceptions, two of which came in the end zone.

Andy Pfeiffer continued his strong play, rushing for 101 yards, his fourth straight 100-yard game. The former Mankato West standout ran hard and earned all of his yardage.

It was a very good game by the young, improving offensive line. With four sophomores and redshirt freshmen on the line, it looks like the Mavericks are building something special in that unit.

The Mavericks face a tough road test this week at St. Cloud State. Though it's not a division game, the Mavericks and Huskies are among five Northern Sun teams at 4-1, so this will be an important outcome for postseason consideration.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

LIVE BLOG: Minnesota State football vs. Winona State