MSU set to rematch NSIC-rival Wayne State to open NCAA tournament
MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The regular-season road came to an end for the Minnesota State football team with a blowout win over Winona State on Saturday.
Coming up, the Mavericks prepare for the opening round of the NCAA DII football tournament where they’ll host conference-rival Wayne State Nov. 19 at noon at Blakeslee Stadium.
Mary Rominger: Coach Hoffner, MSU is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2019, but before we talk about that, you have quite the hairdo. Tell me how you got to this point of having what the team calls a “skullet.”
Todd Hoffner: Yeah, a skullet, right. I deserve this with my big mouth after the Wayne State game, it was right in this room about five, six weeks ago when we lost our last football game and I said to the players, I said, you know I thought a lot of people were hating on us and not believing in Minnesota State and Maverick football and I challenged them. I said, hey, as long as we’re in the playoffs, hunt right, and we continue to win out, you can do whatever you want to with my hair week by week. Well, they kept delaying it, and we beat Augustana, nationally ranked. We beat Sioux Falls, nationally ranked, and then we came home and beat Southwest Minnesota State and then this last weekend we beat Winona State, and all of a sudden, they want to cut my hair. So, this is kind of their way of taking half of my skull off and doing what’s called a skullet. So I guess it’s kind of popular for some people, but not too many.
MR: Next Saturday, Wayne State is at Blakeslee Stadium. How important and how valuable is it to be able to open the NCAA Tournament at home?
TH: Wow. It’s been, like you mentioned, a long time since 2019. For us to be at home at this stage of the game after starting 4-2 is really something to acknowledge, but you don’t do that unless you go 5-0 at home. Right. That’s where we’ve made our mark with this program over the years. I think that’s the 8th or the 9th time that we’ve went undefeated at home and every single year that we’ve been undefeated at home, we’ve been in the playoffs and we’ve been at home and so it’s an important thing for us to be strong and be competitors and truly want to do it for one another and for us to get in the NCAA Tournament again is pretty special. It’s pretty sweet, and I’m really excited for this football team.
MR: Shen, what goes through your mind when you see Wayne State popup at the bottom of the bracket, a team that gave you guys one of two losses on the season.
Shen Butler-Lawson: It’s just revenge, to be honest. We went up there, lost a tough game, and I think offensively, they haven’t seen what we’ve been doing these past five games. So, I think playing them again, it will be a challenge to see what the defense is going to do and I don’t think they can handle us for four quarters.
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