MSU gears up for NCAA Tournament

Mavericks on winning streak heading into tournament.
Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 8:16 PM CST
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) -It’s a NSIC heavy Division II NCAA football tournament with Minnesota State picking up the highest seed of any team from the conference.

The stage is set for this year’s national tournament, and after a couple of years, Minnesota State is one of the final 28 teams in Division II still playing.

MSU’s region is littered with NSIC squads, including Bemidji State, Winona State and Wayne State.

The Mavericks are set to match up against the Wildcats of Wayne State, one of the two teams to beat MSU during regular season play.

But since that loss to Wayne State, MSU is unbeaten, running the table en route to the national tourney.

“We’ve seen them before, we know what they’re all about. We haven’t seen anything they haven’t seen. We’re all going to play our hearts out. It’s football, have to take it one play at a time,” said Grant Nagel, MSU junior defensive lineman.

“We’re only as good as our next snap. We’ll see how good we are. We’ve been positive, explosive, dominant at times. We’re a football team that’s ever evolving. Our youth is gaining experience, we’ve learned a ton of lessons through time. Hopefully the culmination of the fruits of our labor can lead us to victory. When you lose to someone twice in a row, nobody did that to us this year with the exception of Wayne State. So the revenge factor didn’t work the first time around, it’ll be even harder the second time around. We’ll need to be on the top of our game against a very good football team,” said Todd Hoffner, MSU head coach.

Minnesota State’s offense is putting up over 30 points per game this season. Shen Butler-Lawson is leading the rushing attack by averaging close to six yards per carry. He’s up to 810 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the season.

MSU hosts Wayne State on Saturday in the first round of this year’s tournament.