The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

September 15, 2013

MSU football team establishes its offense IN BLOWOUT

MSU's offensive line has improved performance

MANKATO — Minnesota State has a veteran, powerful offensive line, and there's been plenty of hype about that front five.

But in the season-opener against Mary, the run game didn't take off as expected. So on Saturday, in the home opener against Minnesota Crookston, there was a special focus on that unit.

"We felt like we could pound the rock against anybody," senior guard Andrew Essman said. "We struggled somewhat (against Mary), and we feel like we could have done better.

"Tonight, it felt like we were right at home. We were moving guys off the ball. When we get that going, no one can stop us."

No. 2-rated Minnesota State overpowered Minnesota Crookston with 532 yards of offense, winning 68-26 in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference football game Saturday night at Blakeslee Stadium. It's the second-highest point total in program history, just two points shy of victories over Peru State (2007) and Upper Iowa (2012). it's the fifth-highest combined score of any Minnesota State game.

The Mavericks didn't attempt a punt and faced only six third-down plays, converting five. Minnesota State ran only one fourth-down play, and that was a 32-yard field goal by Sam Brockshus in the fourth quarter. The Minnesota State quarterbacks were 10 of 11 passing, with starter Jon Wolf completing all 7 attempts for 140 yards.

"Our goal was to get better as individuals and get better as a team this week," coach Aaron Keen said. "We felt there were some areas of concern in Week 1. The younger guys will learn a lot from this, and it's great that we got everyone in to play a varsity game."

The offensive fireworks started early, with Minnesota State taking four rushes to move 70 yards and scoring on Connor Thomas' 8-yard run. Brockshus kicked the first of nine PATs.

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