Beavers sight sights on U-Mary, Battle of the Big Lake

Minot State football coach Mike Aldrich didn’t like what he saw while watching film of last week’s 47-7 defeat to Winona State.

“One of the main pillars of our program is accountability,” Aldrich said. “When we don’t perform at the levels we need to perform at, we have to be accountable for it. Our biggest failure on Saturday was effort.”

Aldrich and the Beaver football team went over the film Sunday and most MSU players shared the same sentiment as their coach.

“I think the two biggest adjectives regarding their reaction would be disappointment and embarrassment,” Aldrich said. “They know they can play a lot better.”

MSU (0-4) turns its attention to taking down rival University of Mary (0-4) at 2:30 p.m. today at the MDU Resources Community Bowl in Bismarck.

To this point, this season has been a struggle for the Marauders. U-Mary has lost every game by at least 28 points, is last in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in scoring at 9.5 points per game and allows a conference-high 44.8 points per contest. The Marauders have a limited passing attack, ranking last in the NSIC in passing, averaging a paltry 70 yards through the air per contest. U-Mary has a solid running game, however, running for 213 yards per game using their triple action attack.

Aldrich said because of the triple-option offensive scheme the Marauders run, they cannot be taken lightly.

“U-Mary presents challenges because they’re the only ones that do what they do,” Aldrich said. “We have to be much more specialized in our defense to defend the triple option. When it comes into this week, we have to make sure we do the little things right. When you play a triple-option team, assignment football is the most important thing you can play.”

Starting MSU quarterback Zac Cunha was pulled at halftime last week, partly due to performance and partly due to a shoulder injury. Backup Andy Jones played the entire second half, but couldn’t engineer any scoring drives.

At his Monday press conference, Aldrich said a decision on a starting quarterback hadn’t been made.

“If he’s 100 percent healthy, it will probably be Zac,” Aldrich said. “But Andy proved last week he can do some things for us too. It gives us some definite things to think about.”

The Beavers lead the all-time series 13-12 and have won the last two meetings. MSU won 21-20 last season and 15-9 in 2015.

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