ABERDEEN, S.D. (KELO) — Minnesota State Mankato is known as a perennial talent in Division II football. On Saturday, Northern State will set aim to the Mavericks, looking for their first win over Minnesota State in 51 years.

The Wolves of Northern State opened the 2022 season with a 30-0 win over Upper Iowa.

“We were prepared, we were ready to spread the ball around on offense. We knew what we had on defense, so we were pretty prepared to see the results that we saw game,” Northern State head coach Mike Schmidt said. “Honestly, that’s what we should’ve done to that team and in that game, that’s how we should’ve played.”

Northern suffered their first setback a week later with a 13-6 loss to Wayne State.

“You fumble the ball on the one yard line, you get a safety, that isn’t called, that’s clearly a safety and you miss that opportunity. We just had a lot of missed opportunities and then we compounded those missed opportunities by making mistakes,” Schmidt said. “We missed two field goals, we threw three interceptions and those mistakes can’t happen.”

The Wolves are preparing to make fewer mistakes, by focusing on making plays.

“Especially with young guys, you don’t want to talk about not making mistakes, you want to make sure you’re talking about making plays,” Schmidt said. “That’s really the mindset that separates some of the teams that are contenders and the teams that are championship perennial teams that win. That’s where we’re at with our program, is trying to make sure that we’re not afraid to make mistakes, but we’re out there trying to make plays.”

Kick-off on Saturday is at 6 p.m.

Northern State has now turned their sights to Minnesota State Mankato, who is ranked 24th in AFCA Coaches Poll.

“They’re battle tested for sure. They’ve played two tough ones, on the road at Bemidji State and at home against Duluth. We sure hope we can play them like that,” Schmidt said. “Yeah, we were close last year, but we’re a different team, they’re a very different team than what they were a year ago. I think when you just look at what this game is, for our football program, it’s obviously a big game.”

The Wolves have lost ten straight games to Mankato, including last year’s 40-34 overtime defeat, but this year, Northern is looking to end the five decade losing drought to the Mavs.

“A lot of people talk about the football team in 1971 beating Mankato on campus. That’s a long, long time ago, I mean that’s more than 50 years ago now,” Schmidt said. “I think people still want that part of it bad. So our crowd is going to be ready, because they want that.”

Northern State and Minnesota State will meet on Saturday, September 17. Kick-off is set for 6 p.m.

Tickets are still available and you can find those on the Northern State Wolves website.

KELOLAND Sports will have coverage from Aberdeen on Saturday. Follow @KELOSweeter on Twitter for in game updates. You can see highlights on KELOLAND News at 10.