MARSHALL, Minn. - The Southwest Minnesota State football team will try to end its six-game losing streak against Minnesota-Duluth when the Mustangs host the Bulldogs in Thursday night's season opener at Mattke Field.
Duluth was one of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference's three co-champions last year, and the Bulldogs went on to win a pair of games in the NCAA Division II playoffs. UMD has been polled second in the preseason rankings by the American Football Coaches Association as it returns a total of 14 starters from last year's 11-3 unit.
Leading Southwest Minnesota State into its quest for the first win over a top-25 team in program history is quarterback Tyler Peschong. The senior signal caller is a Marshalltown High School graduate who was named second-team all-NSIC last season and will be one of four team captains for the second year in a row.
Peschong threw for 2,627 yards and 20 touchdowns last season and was the team's third-leading rusher with 414 yards and a team-high seven TD runs. Individually he led the NSIC in total offense, finishing first in passing and eighth in pass efficiency.
Another former area prep, Austin Nichols, is second on the SMSU depth chart at right guard. Nichols, a West Marshall graduate and Iowa Western Community College transfer, started three games at left guard last fall.
Wide receiver Ty Steffensen, a 2012 MHS graduate, is redshirting in his first year in Marshall.
Minnesota-Duluth at Southwest Minnesota State
Thursday, 6 p.m.
At Mattke Field, Marshall, Minn.