(MANKATO, Min.) The moves that Minnesota-Duluth's Chase Vogler pulled at Spratt Stadium two weeks ago are still fresh in the minds of the Griffon defense.
This Saturday, the team faces another mobile quarterback in Minnesota State-Mankato's Jon Wolf and another option system.
But the Mavericks will have their hands full as well with the ground attack Missouri Western's been honing all season. A matchup to highlight, as stopping the run has been something of a specialty for Mankato all year.
Last Saturday's win over Northwest marked just the fourth time this season the Mavericks have allowed 100 combined rushing yards in a game. Bemidji State, Southwest Minnesota and Wayne State (Neb.) also hit that mark against Mankato.
But the Mavericks face their highest-ranked rushing opponent yet on Saturday in Missouri Western. The Griffons clock in at eighth nationally with 3619 combined yards. No other team to surpass the 100-yard mark against Mankato ranks in the top 50 int that category.
The Mavericks will be forced to slow down an attack led by a Harlon Hill finalist that's been able to provide a weekly spark to his trophy chances as the Griffons march deeper into the playoffs. Michael Hill remains the nation's second-leading rusher at 2,118 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Where MWSU might differ is the amount of able ball carriers they possess that Mankato must scheme for. Travis Partridge has proven he can do damage with his legs, particularly near the goal line, with 422 yards and 17 scores. Compared to his counterpart in Wolf, Partridge has a 20-pound advantage that defenders will be tasked with dragging down.
Tack on a Raphael Spencer who's made his fair share of noise with 604 yards and five touchdowns as a redshirt freshman.
Those are just a few pieces in the equation that head coach Jerry Partridge believes makes his offense so dangerous.
"It starts with the O-line, obviously. Our offense feeds on every aspect of it," he said. "If they commit too much to Mike, obviously Travis can hurt them. If people want to bump and get after us and blitz, right now we've shown we can hurt you through the air.
As a team, MWSU is 19-1 in the last two seasons when racking up 200 yards in a game. That could be a lofty goal against the Mavericks, but the Griffons did amass 233 yards over Henderson State and 225 against Minnesota-Duluth in these playoffs.
The Mavericks, meanwhile, sport the nation's sixth-ranked run defense, allowing 83.5 yard per contest and have given up 1,005 in their 12-game schedule overall.
That's played big factor in Mankato's dominance at home, going 12-0 since their last loss at Blakeslee Stadium on Oct. 9, 2010.
That earth beneath the Griffs' feet will feel a little different Saturday. Mankato's field is the first grass surface MWSU will play on since a 31-24 win at Southwest Baptist in Week 9 last season. The team moved practice to the grass field beyond Spratt Stadium this week to accommodate that change.
Partridge is well aware of what Mankato's run stoppers bring to the table, but remembers what his rush has done to defenses with similar talent.
"We're always going to try to run the ball. We have faced, probably, six straight opponents that every one of them don't give up a lot of rushing yards. I'm hoping that trend continues."