Before the Storm

SMSU's home opening game had SMSU and MSU coaches excited to kick off season play

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Before the Storm

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Even though the Mustangs fell short for the 18th consecutive year of the series, they are already an improved team that holds the promise for a successful season. Here’s the climactic calm before the rain on the Saturday of SMSU”s 13th annual Ag Bowl event. 

“Mankato is extremely talented, and they had a legit chance of winning it all last year in terms of a national championship,” Sauter said before the Saturday night Ag Bowl matchup. 

Just because Mankato is the NSIC favorite and arguably the strongest team in the conference, doesn’t mean that the game gets played any different. In fact, it serves as a great test of mental fortitude for the Mustangs. 

“I mean, just because we are playing a good team doesn’t mean we can’t still line penalties, not turning the ball over excessively,” Sauter said. “ We want to play as clean of a ballgame as possible. Part of that is managing the game itself, keep the clock moving to shorten the game as much as we can, not looking at the scoreboard, and keeping ourselves present on the field. It’s trying to find ways to create a big play, whether that is on offense or defense, take some shots. The fastest way to lose a game is to turn the ball over.”

Coach Sauter and Mavericks head coach Hoffner had a shared mindset going into this game– focusing on what they can control, and just getting out there to test out what they’ve been working on in practice for weeks. 

“Big thing for us is focusing in on the controllable aspects of the game” 

“Big thing for us is focusing in on the controllable aspects of the game,” Sauter said. “I mean, just because we are playing a good team doesn’t mean we can’t still line penalties, not turning the ball over excessively.” 

“Well I think you want to have a culmination of all of your efforts from the last few weeks come into fruition,” coach Hoffner said. “You don’t want to make a lot of mistakes. You want everyone to be on the same page, and you know, let football be football. A lot of it has to do with playing as a team and putting your best out there. Once again, we have to focus on what we do. We can’t control what we can’t control. I don’t see Boyer skipping a beat at the quarterback position.” 

The Mustangs and Mavericks alike were eager to get some real-time game action for the season through this matchup. “In practice, you don’t get a lot of live tackling situations as you do in a football game, so I think there’s a huge question for both teams- how well are the people carrying the football taking care of it,” Hoffner said. “And I think that’s a to be determined kind of thing.” 

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