Monday, December 22, 2014
It's hard to believe that the 2014 NCAA Division II Football season has finally come to a close. The Mavericks fell to CSU-Pueblo in the national championship game at beautiful Sporting Park in Kansas City Saturday, 13-0, in finishing the year with a 14-1 mark.
One loss for Minnesota State and it came in the national championship game. In getting to the last game of 2014, this team took everyone on an unprecedented ride.
We've had football at this institution since 1922. This was the 89th year of varsity football for us and no team had ever won 14 games in a season before.
Who does that? Who wins 14 football games in a season?
Including three NCAA playoff games, we hosted nine games at Blakeslee in 2014. Nine. In the last three seasons the Mavericks have gone 14-1 (2014), 11-1 (2013) and 13-1 (2012). No team in NCAA Division II has won as many games during that time. Eight NCAA play-off games in three years. Minnesota State has not lost a conference game since 2011 and will head into 2015 riding a 33-game league unbeaten streak.
Those that follow the Mavericks, and we saw a ton of them in Kansas City at the national championship game and social media tells us that many who weren't there were watching on ESPN2, witnessed something special.
There's a lot of pride amongst our alums, the parents of our players, the students and staff at Minnesota State and the folks in Mankato with what happened and there's a tremendous amount of optimism moving forward.
This year's team loses 21 seniors who unquestionably have served as the backbone to the success the program has enjoyed during this run. So as we bid adieu to Nathan Hancock, Eric Clark, Erik Ruhland, Keyvan Rudd, Dorian Buford, Andy Pfeiffer, Anthony Lewis, Jeff Burns, Darius Clare, Kris Fleigle, Shonquille Dorsey, Josh Meeker, Gary Hiatt, Barry Ballinger, Max Hoffmeister, Kaleb Wendricks, Chris Reed, Jeffrey Raymond, Bryan Keys, Austin Rieder and Darin Howell, we also offer up our gratitude. You'll walk together as champions for the rest of your lives.
Here's hoping everyone has a safe and enjoyable Holiday Season.
It's great to be a Maverick.