No hard feelings for Aldrich as Beavers take on Augie in home opener

Minot State linebacker Matt Marler (36) makes a tackle during the Beavers season opener at Concordia St. Paul on Sept. 1 in St. Paul, Minn.  Photo courtesy of Justin Oakman Photography

For the first time since his departure from Augustana University in 2012, Minot State football coach Mike Aldrich will get a shot at taking down at his former team as a head coach.

Aldrich and the Beavers face the Vikings in MSU’s home opener at 1 p.m. today at Herb Parker Stadium.

Despite the way things ended for Aldrich at Augustana, he insists there’s no bitterness left toward his old school.

“I don’t want my guys to try to win a game for me by any means,” Aldrich said. “To me, our focus is getting better ourselves. I’ve played Augustana the last four years as an assistant so there’s no reason for them to be motivated from that angle. If they do get a win, I want it to be for them, not for me.”

Plenty of internal optimism surrounded Minot State football heading into its season opener against Concordia St. Paul last week. A 24-0 loss later, the Beavers are back to the drawing board.

“We need to learn how to finish,” MSU coach Mike Aldrich said. “That comes with not having three or four false starts in the red zone. That’s really a lack of discipline and attention to detail. We’ve got to focus on that aspect and learn from what we encountered.”

Offensively, MSU put together a pair of solid drives to begin the game, but both ended on missed field goals.

“The first quarter of the game followed the script of what we wanted to do,” Aldrich said. “We got the ball and drove the length of the field and got ourselves into field goal range. Obviously, we want to finish and get points on the board, but I thought putting a six-minute drive together was phenomenal. But we didn’t finish and that was the name of the game for us.”

Augustana isn’t coming off the prettiest of season openers either, as Minnesota State Moorhead gave the Vikings a 38-7 drubbing on their own home field on Sept. 2. The Vikings couldn’t muster much offensively, running for a measly 33 yards and only racking up 127 yards of total offense. Their passing game wasn’t much better, with starting quarterback Ryan Rubley completing 7 of 17 passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.

Something will have to give, as MSU had problems stopping the run in the second half against CSP, allowing 197 total rushing yards in the contest.

“I’m always going to focus on stopping the run first and make somebody beat you with the pass,” Aldrich said. “As we look at how Augie played, they’re going to be better than they were in that game, just like we want to be better than we were in our game. We can’t go off of that and say because they didn’t play well it’s going to be an easy game for us.”

Augie was picked apart by MSUM quarterback Demetrius Carr last week and MSU quarterback Zac Cunha hopes to accomplish the same feat. Cunha struggled to find much rhythm against CSP, completing 15 of 35 passes for 175 yards. The Beavers will hope for more production out of the ground game as well, with running back Larry Overstreet racking up 55 yards on 18 carries.

Garrick Hodge covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @Garrick–Hodge.