KICKOFF: 1 p.m.
SITE: Husky Stadium
SERIES: SCSU leads 6-0
LAST MEETING: SCSU won 45-24 last season in Bismarck, N.D.
RECORD: Mary 3-3 NSIC, 3-3 overall; SCSU 4-2 NSIC, 4-2 overall
LAST WEEK: Mary lost 29-21 to Bemidji State; SCSU beat Minnesota-Crookston 36-24
RADIO: 1450 KNSI-AM
The University of Mary has always provided St. Cloud State with a tough test since the two schools started playing in 2006.
But the Huskies have won all six meetings between the two, including last year’s 45-24 victory in Bismarck, N.D.
St. Cloud State quarterback Phillip Klaphake threw four interceptions in that game, but the Huskies rushed for 354 yards as a team to secure the win. The two teams meet again at 1 p.m. Saturday at Husky Stadium.
“He threw two bad balls that he normally wouldn’t,” SCSU head coach Scott Underwood recalled about last year’s game. “After that bad start I think he started second-guessing himself as the game went on. But his maturity carries him through.”
Klaphake struggled at times last season in adjusting to life without wide receiver Fred Williams. Those two hooked up for a giant 2010 season.
“It’s easy to throw the ball to a guy like Fred who can make plays,” Underwood said. “Fred was a playmaker who could get open and run by guys. He was physical enough, could shake you down and then had the agility to get by you. Those are some pretty good traits. We’re still looking for someone with those types of talents.”
Underwood doesn’t expect a repeat performance this year against Mary for Klaphake. The Princeton High School graduate has been on a roll since beating Minnesota-Duluth two weeks ago.
Klaphake has thrown for 1,557 yards and 14 touchdowns this season while only being intercepted three times.
“Obviously Phil is skilled at his craft,” Underwood said. “He does a lot of film study and knows what to expect. That’s helpful.
“But lately a couple of things have clicked. The offensive line has started to play better and done a better job of protecting him. There’s a trustful relationship starting there.”
* SCSU senior linebacker Thomas Johnson on Mary, which is ranked No. 1 in the NSIC in passing yards per game (320.2 yards per game): “I know they like to throw the ball. Craig Bagnell was a good player for them until he went down with the injury. He always balled out against us. He’s a baller. He goes out and plays hard. We’re going to try and blitz whoever is back there and get pressure and make plays on the defensive side.”
* Johnson on chances of SCSU winning out to finish 9-2: “We can only control what we can. But we have to win out. We’ve had some tough losses. We should’ve beat Mankato. We want to put ourselves in a position to make the playoffs.”
* Underwood didn’t play tight end Corey Henne and running back Damon Treat last week due to Minnesota-Crookston’s poor playing surface. Both players could return this week after suffering lower leg injuries against UMD.
“Everyone’s gone through treatment and made good progress,” Underwood said.
* SCSU wide receiver Chad Peterson’s 145 receiving yards last week were a career-high.
* SCSU nose guard Luke Sebald had a career-high two sacks last week at Crookston. He also had a fumble recovery.
* Underwood was an assistant coach from 1997-98 at the University of North Dakota when Mary AD Roger Thomas was the head coach at the school. Underwood was a linebackers coach at UND.
* The Marauders lead the NSIC in sacks and are 10th nationally. Mary has 21 sacks that have gone for 179 yards in losses. Mary junior DE John Oyloe is second in the NSIC in sacks with six. Wayne State’s Richard Daniel has seven sacks. Oyloe is fourth in the NSIC in tackles for loss (8.5) and second in tackles for a defensive linemen with 41.
* Mary WR Tyler Steffan, an All-American, is second on the all-time Mary receiving charts in touchdown receptions (27), third in receptions (145), third in receiving yardage (2,256) and fifth in career TDs (27).