DULUTH, MN -- The game that could decide the UMD football team's fate in the NSIC comes early this season.
The Bulldogs will take on Minnesota State in just the second week of their regular season. Fresh off a big 41-14 win over Upper Iowa, UMD rose three spots in the latest AFCA DII National Poll to number 20.
The Mavericks are currently the third-ranked team in the AFCA poll after an overtime win over Northern State in week one.
"You know this has been a tough game for us in the last 5, 6, 7 years and we understand that this is just one more football game. So we're going to prepare just like that, I know our guys have put a lot of time in over the last couple days in preparation for game plan today. Today will be our first true practice in preparation and you know, we'll iron some things out here throughout the week, and make sure we're prepared and ready to go for this Saturday," said head coach Curt Wiese.
UMD was blown out 52-7 by Mankato in their last matchup back in 2019. Starting quarterback John Larson separated his shoulder in the first half, forcing backup Garrett Olson into action.
"We all know the importance of this week. Everyone really wants to beat Mankato. In our overall end goal, I think if we can take care of business this week, that'll look really good for us," said fifth-year linebacker Nate Pearson.
Kickoff between UMD and Minnesota State is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. this Saturday at Malosky Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on the My9 Sports Network.