SMSU Loses 23-38 In Ag Bowl Home Opener

In their home opening game, the SMSU Mustangs fell to the #3 ranked MSU Mavericks during the 13 Annual Ag Bowl series

Saturday featured cloudy skies and two determined teams that were clearly ready to face off and get the first game of the season underway. Unfortunately, SMSU kicked off their 52nd season of college football with a 23 to 38 loss against #3 ranked defending Northern Sun champions– Minnesota State University, Mankato.

SMSU started off the game receiving the ball, and It was a quick 4 and outdrive. On Mankato’s possession, they turned the ball over on downs after a bad long snap over the punter. SMSU had a great field position on MSU’s 12-yard line. They ended up kicking a field goal and did not secure a touchdown after a dropped ball. 

The Mustangs set the tempo by scoring first and were leading 3-0. However, Mankato didn’t waste any time and responded with a long 79-yard drive followed by a touchdown from senior Nate Gunn, which would be the first of his three for the evening. A four and out for the Mustangs led to another touchdown run from the Mavericks, which showed 8 plays for 47 yards. Falling fast, the Mustangs achieved a field goal to give them a slight edge. 

 After two MSU touchdowns in the first quarter, SMSU trailed 15 to 3, not managing to cover much ground since their first points earned in the game. This time, Mankato took the reins and kept the lead with another early field goal to lead the second quarter 18-3, 40 yards from Luke Williams, a sophomore from Altoona, Iowa. 

Nate Gunn saw a gain with a two-yard rushing touchdown, resulting in his third and final touchdown for the game, with the extra point moving the Mavericks to a solid 25-3. Boyer Bouman restored hope for the Mustangs by answering back with a touchdown, and senior wide-receiver Daniel Davis had 26 yards to better SMSU’s board position with a 10-25 score. 

Bouman got hit hard, and then the rain came. Just as the Mustangs were heating up, Bouman got hurt at the end of the half. Being dizzy and slow to get up, the big hit Bouman endured caused him to miss out on all second-half field action. 

Steven Nava filled in and handled himself well. It was a competition for who took the starting quarterback position before season play, and Nava proved himself to be very capable in the field. Nava started the second half with a 2-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Carter Damlo, narrowing the gap to 17-25 after a Skyler Krew extra point.

Luke Williams achieved a 34-yard field goal, followed by a nice SMSU fourth-down stop at the start of the third quarter, leading to good field position for Nava. Nava played a strong third quarter, giving the Mustangs another touchdown pass for 27 yards, which closed the game even further by inching the tally to 23-28. 

Mankato was back at it again in the fourth quarter with a 27-yard field goal from Ashton Gardner. Shortly after, Ryan Schlichte passed for 25 yards to Zayne Zylstra, which would turn out to be the nail in the coffin for SMSU with the final tally showing 23-38 at the conclusion of their first game of the season. 


SMSU’s next football action will be their first season away game against Wayne State, Iowa on September 14th at 6 PM.