The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

September 21, 2013

No. 2 MSU snaps Minnesota Duluth's long home win streak

No. 2 snaps No. 7 Minnesota Duluth's 41-game home win streak

DULUTH — Nathan Hancock's heart dropped, and Minnesota State coach Aaron Keen just looked down at his play-calling sheet.

It looked as though Minnesota Duluth had scored the go-ahead touchdown on an 11-yard pass with 41 seconds to play.

But wait! A flag?

Holding was called on the Bulldogs, setting up another play from the 16. After an incompletion, the Minnesota Duluth quarterback rolled out alone for what seemed like 10 seconds on fouirth down, lofting a pass into the end zone. Safety Jordan Hale came across the play, and with a broken hand wrapped in a cast, he swatted the pass away to preserve the 21-17 victory.

"It was like we got a second life right there," Hancock said. "The defensive line was playing like maniacs, and we just had to keep the receivers in front of us. To cover guys for that long is tough."

In a game between two of the best teams in Division II, No. 2-rated Minnesota State ended No. 7 Minnesota Duluth's 41-game home winning streak in front of 5,723 fans, the fourth-largest crowd in stadium history. The game was heavily hyped and lived up to those expectations.

"To break a 41-game streak of any kind is tough," Keen said. "At times, it was an ugly game. We didn't play our best, and I'm sure they'll say they didn't play their best. But when you have two teams who pla great defense, you have to pick your spots.

"I'd like to see us produce a little more, but getting a win here is very exciting. We had to overcome some adversity, and I was proud of our effort."

The Mavericks were in trouible early. Minnesota Duluth scored on the first play of the second quarter to lead 10-0. The Mavericks took over on their own 26, needing to at least get a couple first downs to calm the momentum.

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