SMSU FOOTBALL: SMSU battles first of four NSIC North Division foes today at Minot State

Independent file photo SMSU’s Bailey Olson tries to escape a Minot State tackle during their Sept. 16, 2017 game. The Mustangs will face the Beavers today.

MARSHALL – Southwest Minnesota State University (1-3, 1-3 NSIC South), fresh off its first win of the season, continues road action today taking on Minot State University (2-2, 2-2 NSIC North) with kickoff set for 3 p.m. at Herb Parker Stadium in Minot, N.D.

•Today’s game is the first of four straight games versus NSIC North Division opponents for SMSU during the month of October. The Mustangs will resume NSIC South play at home on Nov. 2 versus Winona State.

•SMSU’s next victory will be the 200th in the program’s 52-year history.

SMSU vs. the

NSIC North

•Since 2012, when the NSIC schedule had each team playing four inter-divisional games, SMSU has a record of 16-12 versus NSIC North Division teams.

•SMSU finished 3-1 versus NSIC North opponents last season.

•SMSU is 12-4 versus North Division teams since 2015.

•SMSU went a perfect 4-0 versus North Division squads in 2015, 3-1 in 2016, 2-2 in 2017 and 3-1 last season.

Broadcast info

•Today’s game will be broadcast on 105.1 FM KARL with seventh-year SMSU play-by-play voice Ryan Rohlik.

•Live stats and video can be found at SMSUmustangs. com.

Opening drive tidbits

•SMSU’s win last Saturday at Upper Iowa snapped an 11-game road losing streak to NSIC South Division opponents.

SMSU coach Cory Sauter said it’s never easy to go on the road and earn a win but felt they made a lot of great improvements leading up to the game and it was a great feeling to get their first win of the season.

“Obviously you go on the road, it’s never easy and we were very focused going into the ballgame and we put it together,” Sauter said. “Most of the week we certainly were making some major strides and one of our points of emphasis was to run the football more effectively and we were able to accomplish that finally here this season and it was certainly a good feeling to get that first win under our belt.”

•Freshman Duce Reynolds recorded his first two career touchdowns and rushed for a career-high 61 yards.

•SMSU did not allow a sack in Saturday’s win for the first time all season.

•Sophomore Onte Burns’ interception return for a touchdown at Upper Iowa was SMSU’s first since Lucas Fisher had a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown last season versus Minnesota Crookston.

•Senior Brad Bahlmann picked up a career-high 1.5 sacks in last week’s victory.

•Freshman Gary Barnes recovered a fumble and picked up a career-high six tackles versus UIU, while redshirt freshman Calvin Knapp also recorded a career-high six tackles.

•Senior running back Max Simmons’ 51-yard rushing touchdown last Saturday was the longest play from scrimmage for SMSU this season.

•SMSU rushed for 158 yards in the win at Upper Iowa. It was the first time in six games–dating back to last season–that SMSU reached 100 yards rushing in a single-game.

•Senior running back Max Simmons moved into sole possession of seventh place in the program career rushing record book with 2,026 yards. He needs 220 yards to tie for sixth and 238 to move into fifth place.

Sauter added now that they have gotten a win under their belt, they know they can’t just sit back and they have to hit the refresh button against a solid Minot State team that they’ve had some close battles with in the past few years.

“We know we can do it once and now it’s about if we can do it again. That’s what we’re chasing right now and as we’ve been telling our guys, we’ve won one football game so we don’t have all of the answers,” Sauter said. “The tendency (after a win) is to relax and feel good about yourself, but we’re starting all over again trying to find a way to win one this week, so we’ve got to have a short memory and we’re going back on the road again on an even longer trip. The last time we played Minot we had a very close ballgame and picked one off in the end zone on the last play of the game. We’ve had some battles against them; in 2015, we ended up beating them by a point at their place. They’re sitting at 2-2 and they’re playing good football now as well so it’ll be a great matchup.”


series notes

Southwest Minnesota State and Minot State meet for the eighth time on Saturday with SMSU holding 6-1 advantage in a series that started on Sept. 15, 1990 … SMSU is 3-0 all-time in games played in Minot, winning 61-27 in 1991, 16-14 in 1997 and 21-20 in 2015 … MISU earned its lone victory in the series, 36-12, in Marshall during the 1996 season … SMSU is 3-0 with both schools members of the NSIC … SMSU won the first two games of the series in 1990 and 1991 scoring a combined 124 points.

SMSU vs. MISU series information

Overall: SMSU leads 6-1

In Marshall: SMSU leads 3-1

In Minot: SMSU leads 3-0

Neutral Record: 0-0

Last SMSU win: Sept. 16, 2017 (28-20)

Last MISU win: Sept. 7, 1996 (36-12)

Largest win for SMSU: 57 (63-6, 1990)

Largest win for MISU: 24 (36-12, 1996)

Longest win streak for SMSU: 4 (1997-2015)

Longest win streak for MISU: 1 (1996)

Current win streak: SMSU, 4

Sauter vs. Minot State: 3-0

Aldrich vs. SMSU: 3-1 (3-0 at Augustana, 0-1 at MISU)

SMSU high-octane


•Since being shutout on Nov. 5, 2011, SMSU has since scored 30 or more points in nearly half of its games.

•Dating back to the final game of the 2011 season through four games this season, SMSU has scored 30 or more points in 37 of its last 83 games.

•In that time, SMSU has scored 40 or more points 21 times, 50 or more points 11 times and 60 or more points once.

Scouting Minot State

•Mike Aldrich is in his third season as head coach at Minot State with a record of 6-20. He was head coach at Augustana (2010-12) for three seasons compiling a record of 22-13.

•Aldrich was an assistant coach at SMSU for two seasons (2015-16) prior to taking the MISU job.

•Co-offensive coordinators Shane LaDage (2011-12) and Derek Edholm (2015) along with defensive line coach Rob Schlaeger (2012-15) were assistant coaches at SMSU.

•LaDage was a four-year letter winner at tight end for SMSU from 2007-10.

•Minot State has won its last two games which is the program’s first two-game winning streak since 2012.

•Junior quarterback Ben Bolinske has completed 53 of 98 passes for 601 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions. He has also rushed for 150 yards and one touchdown on 37 attempts.

•Junior running back Isaiah Hall has 191 yards rushing and one touchdown on 57 attempts.

•Junior linebacker Matthew Ackerman has registered a team-high 3.5 tackles for loss and 22 total tackles.

— Content courtesy

of SMSU Athletic



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