6 p.m., Marshall, Twitter: @Chad Courrier, 12:30 AM, The Fan Mankato
First down: The Mavericks open the season with a road game against a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference foe. The Mavericks have not lost in 17 games of this series, including a 7-0 record at Marshall. Last season, Minnesota State won 49-13 in the season-opener at Blakeslee Stadium. ... Minnesota State has been ranked as high as No. 3 in various national polls. Southwest Minnesota State is unranked. ... Minnesota State has played in the national semifinals the last two seasons, going 26-2 in that span.
Second down: Senior running back Nate Gunn has rushed for 3,255 yards in two seasons and needs 596 yards to break the program record. His 34 touchdowns rushing are six short of Connor Thomas’ program record. Last season, Gunn rushed for 1,705 yards and 22 touchdowns, both of which were single-season program records. ... Receiver Shane Zylstra also has a shot at career program records. Last season, he set a record with 1,261 yards receiving, and as a sophomore, he tied a record with 15 touchdown receptions. He is already tied with Josh Nelsen for first in career touchdown catches at 36. He needs 71 receptions and 864 yards to hold those team records. ... It appears that senior Ryan Schlichte and junior J.D. Ekowa will split the quarterback position again this season.
Third down: Senior linebacker Alex Goettl led Minnesota State’s defense with 87 tackles last season. He had 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He also made one interception and returned a fumble for a touchdown. ... Junior defensive end made 11.0 sacks, the seventh-highest single-season total at Minnesota State. ... Senior linebacker Zach Robertson notched 74 tackles, including 9.5 for a loss. ... Safety Cole Schroedermeier had a team-best three interceptions. ... Cornerback Jack Curtis has seven interceptions in his career. He needs to more to crack the top 10 in program history.
Fourth down: Southwest finished 4-7 last season, losing its last three games. ... Max Simmons led the Mustangs with 543 yards rushing and three touchdowns. ... Boyer Bouman takes over at quarterback, having started four games last season because of an injury to Blake Gimbel. Bouman completed 100 of 168 passes for 799 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. ... Daniel Davis had 1,113 yards receiving and nine touchdown catches. ... Cornerback Cory Hollowell finished third on the team in tackles last season with 64, while safety Lucas Fisher made 53 tackles and three interceptions. Linebacker Onte Burns made 48 tackles and recovered two fumbles.
Extra point: Minnesota State is entering its 11th season in the Northern Sun, posting a 99-13 record in conference games. The Mavericks have won 24 consecutive NSIC games and their last 13 road games.
Martin Luther at Gustavus Adolphus
1 p.m., Hollingsworth Stadium, KNUJ 860 AM
First down: Gustavus opens the season with a nonconference game against Martin Luther of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference. Last season, Gustavus won 32-20 in the season-opener at New Ulm. ... Gustavus was 6-4 last season, finishing fourth in the MIAC at 5-3. ... Martin Luther went 9-2 last season, losing to St. John’s in the opening round of the DIII playoffs. ... Gustavus leads the series 3-0.
Second down: The Gusties have nine starters back on offense, led by senior quarterback Michael Veldman. He was an all-conference selection last season after passing for 2,615 yards and 19 touchdowns. ... Senior tight end Brayton Finch, an all-region selection, made 39 catches for 362 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for three touchdowns. ... Senior receiver Josh Kirk has 93 receptions in his career, and needs seven more to become the 12th player in program history to reach 100. Last season, he caught 44 passes for 587 yards and four touchdowns. ... Senior receiver Brice Panning led the team with 48 receptions for 992 yards and three touchdowns. The 992 yards rank fifth for a single season at Gustavus.
Third down: Senior linebacker Jake Boykin ranked second on the team in tackles last season, making 59. ... Sophomore defensive end Zachary Jakes led the team with four sacks and was second with 9.5 tackles for loss. ... Senior linebacker Avery Bachman was fourth on the team with 47 tackles, including 3.0 tackles for loss.
Fourth down: Martin Luther won its last nine games of the regular season last year, and was chosen to win the UMAC in this year’s preseason coaches poll. ... The Knights have 15 returning starters. ... Junior running back Austin DeNoyer was named UMAC Most Valuable Offensive Player after setting program records with 213 rushing attempts, 1,086 yards rushing and 1,442 all-purpose yards. He scored 16 touchdowns. ... All-UMAC offensive linemen Carrington Cunningham and Derek Gulrud will lead the offensive line with all-conference tight end Mike Radue. ... The Knights return four All-UMAC selections on defense: linemen Keith Brassow and Dan Gensmer, linebacker Tristan Pankow and defensive back Ben Arndt.
Extra point: The Gusties have a record of 61-37-4 in home openers. Last season, they lost to Wisconsin-Stout 24-23 in overtime.
Compiled by Free Press staff writer Chad Courrier.