SMSU FOOTBALL: Mustangs return home to battle Minot State in 11th annual Ag Bowl tonight
MARSHALL – Southwest Minnesota State University (1-1, 0-0 NSIC South) returns home to face Minot State University (0-2, 0-0 NSIC North) tonight, starting at 6 p.m. at Mattke Field at the Schwan Regional Event Center.
•Saturday’s game is the 11th annual Ag Bowl, presented by Ralco.
•SMSU opened the 2017 season with a 41-26 home loss to St. Cloud State on Aug. 31.
•MSUM opened the season with an impressive 38-7 road victory over Augustana on Sept. 2.
11TH ANNUAL AG BOWL – PRESENTED BY RALCO
•Tonight’s game concludes a day of celebration of agriculture in Minnesota and features numerous events for both kids and adults.
•Proceeds generated by the Ag Bowl will fund scholarships and programming for worthy SMSU student-athletes and young people who will dedicate their careers to business success in agriculture, environmental science and the food industries.
SMSU ALL-TIME ON AG BOWL
•SMSU is 4-6 all-time in Ag Bowl games following last season’s 41-39 loss to Wayne State.
SENIORS HONORED PRIOR TO GAME
•Despite three more home games remaining on the schedule, the SMSU football program will have “Senior Recognition Night” on Saturday and will recognize its 17 seniors in a ceremony prior to kick off.
SMSU OPENING DRIVE TIDBITS
•SMSU has lost its last two home games (dating to last season). The last time SMSU lost three straight home games occurred during the 2014 season.
•SMSU limited MSUM to just 51 yards rushing last Thursday night. It was the first time SMSU has held an opponent to less than 100 yards rushing since Concordia-St. Paul had 90 yards on Nov. 7, 2015.
•Minot State head coach Mike Aldrich was an assistant coach the previous two seasons at SMSU (2015-16).
•SMSU is 8-2 versus NSIC North Division teams the past three seasons.
•SMSU’s five interceptions in last week’s win at MSU Moorhead was its highest total since recording five at Upper Iowa on Sept. 17, 2005.
•Senior Blake Gimbel needs one more touchdown pass to tie Josh Shudlick (2005-08) for third all-time in team history with 59.
•Gimble is 234 passing yards shy of moving into third place in team history with 7,323 yards.
•Senior Nate Huot ranks fourth in NSIC history with 199 career receptions. He is 11 receptions shy of tying the conference record of 210 (NSIC games only) set by Brian Jark of Northern State (2006-09).
•Huot ranks fourth in team history in receptions and fifth in touchdowns.
•Huot has 10 career 100-yard receiving games which ranks tied for fourth in team history.
•Freshman kicker Skyler Crew booted three field goals in last week’s win at MSU Moorhead. He is the first Mustang to make three in a game since Mike Wenk on Sept. 13, 2014.
JACKSON-HANCHETT SETS SINGLE-GAME RECORD
•Junior cornerback Je’Darien Jackson-Hanchett set a school single-game record with four interceptions in SMSU’s week two win at MSU Moorhead.
SMSU VERSUS THE NORTH
•Since 2012, when the NSIC schedule required each team to play four inter-divisional games, SMSU has a record of 12-10 versus NSIC North Division teams.
•SMSU is 8-2 versus North Division teams since 2015.
•SMSU went a perfect 4-0 versus North Division squads in 2015 and last season finished 3-1.
MUSTANG DEFENSE FORCING TURNOVERS/
•The SMSU defense has forced a total of eight turnovers in two games ranking fourth in Division II.
•SMSU recorded six turnovers versus MSU Moorhead with five interceptions.
•SMSU forced a pair of turnovers in its loss to St. Cloud State to open the season.
•The SMSU defense scored its first touchdown of the season with Hunter Cushman returning an interception 68 yards.
•The SMSU defense was opportunistic last season, forcing at least one turnover in the first 10 games, including three or more in five games and two or more in six games.
CUSHMAN MAKING BIG TIME PLAYS
•Junior cornerback Hunter Cushman has made a big impact during both games this season.
•He returned an interception 68 yards for a touchdown in week one versus St. Cloud State.
•He also had a 25-yard fumble return versus MSU Moorhead in week two setting up a 1-yard SMSU touchdown drive.
SMSU IN THE SOUTH
•The NSIC adapted divisional play prior to the 2008 season.
•SMSU is 22-37 all-time in South Division games and has finished in the top half of the division three in nine seasons.
•SMSU had its highest finish in 2013 at second place and has finished fourth three times, fifth twice and sixth three times.
MUSTANGS AT HOME
•The 2017 season marks the 10th year that Mattke Field at the Schwan Regional Event Center serves as the home for SMSU football.
•SMSU, which finished 4-2 at home last season, is 24-28 all-time at the stadium including 0-1 this season.
•SMSU has recorded back-to-back winning seasons at home for the first time since having four straight winning seasons from 1989-92.
•The $16 million facility opened in the fall of 2008 with the first college football game played on Aug. 30 versus Minnesota Crookston.
RECORD ON THE ROAD
•SMSU is 1-0 on the road this season.
•SMSU finished 1-4 on the road in 2016.
•SMSU went 5-1 in road games in 2015 setting a school record for road wins in a season.
•SMSU is a combined 31-54 in road games since 2000.
ABOUT MINOT STATE
•Minot State is 0-2 on the season, following a road loss to Concordia-St. Paul in the season opener and a 28-20 home loss to Augustana last Saturday.
•Mike Aldrich is his first season as head coach at MISU.
•He was an assistant coach for two seasons at SMSU prior to being named head coach in January of 2017.
•He was head coach at Augustana (2010-12) for three seasons recording a record of 22-13.
•MISU assistant coaches Shane LaDage (2011-12) and Derek Edholm (2015) were both assistant coaches at SMSU. LaDage was a four-year letter winner at tight end for SMSU from 2007-10.
•Lavante Bushnell caught two touchdown passes for the Beavers in the loss to Augustana. He finished with five receptions for 86 yards.
•Trailing 28-20 in the fourth quarter, the Beavers had a pair of drives down inside the Augustana 30-yard line including at the 5-yard line, but failed to score.
•Zac Cunha has completed 32 of 72 passes for 450 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
•Hayden Van Winkle has rushed for a team-high 71 yards on 22 carries.
•Bushnell has caught nine passes for 120 yards on two touchdowns.
•The MISU defense is paced by Bryce Broome, who has amassed 20 tackles.
•Kiante Goudeau has recorded 17 tackles with two for loss.
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