Unbeaten No. 20 Bulldogs ready for mega home opener vs. No. 3 MSU-Mankato

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Last Thursday University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) fifth year quarterback John Larson threw for a record tying six passing touchdowns leading the Bulldogs to a 41-14 season opening victory over Upper Iowa University.

Coming out of a year off, the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Offensive Player of the Week said this win bolsters team confidence heading into week two.

"First game of the year you’re always a little suspect to how this is going to go," Larson said. "Everything feels rusty usually, but we came out firing on all cylinders. We had a tough first drive, still managed to score, honestly it was just a great performance from every facet of our team."

At the receiving end of two of Larson’s touchdown passes was senior Armani Carmickle. The wide receiver broke a school record for average yards per catch with 41.8, helping UMD get their season off to an undefeated start.

The Bulldogs (1-0) now have their sights set on taking down Minnesota State University-Mankato for the first time in the two programs sixth-ever meeting.

"We’ve game planned a little bit," explained fifth year linebacker Nate Pearson. "We’ve had a few meetings, a few installs. We know they like to run the ball, that’s kind of what they’ve been known for, so I think as D-linemen if we can shut down that run and leave the jobs up to DBs, I know they can get the job done."

UMD head coach Curt Wiese added, "this has been a tough game for us in the last five, six, seven years, and we understand that this is just one more football game. Today will be our first practice in preparation. We’ll iron some things out here throughout the week, so we’ll make sure that we’re prepared and ready to go for this Saturday."

Kickoff against the Mavericks is set for Saturday at 6:05pm at Malosky Stadium. UMD will enter their home opener ranked 20th in the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Division II poll, while MSU is ranked third.