Ask The Opponent: Winona State Edition

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On Monday I had a nice chat with a couple of kindred spirits who are Winona State fans. Proving that there is such thing as “Minnesota nice,” I had WSUWarriorFan and McNelly34 from D2Messageboard answer a few questions and I really appreciate it. I also wished to include a little bit of tour guidance from d2 user Mr.Mustang. Let’s get to it:

TLW:  “First, what are you overall thoughts on the matchup?”

WSU: “First Thoughts- Sounds like its gonna be a good game. This will be Winona’s first playoff game since 2007 and first post season birth since 2012 where they won the Mineral Water Bowl. It’s also the first home non conference game since 2011 against Michigan Tech. “

TLW: “How well do you think the Warriors match up with the Lions?”

McNelly34: “Weather will play a factor in both teams passing games. 20 degrees with 15 to 20 mph winds will make it feel even colder. If WSU can take away/ limit the passing game, then it should be a good game. WSU size at linebacker will be a good match for TAMUC’s tight end.”

TLW: “What is your team’s biggest strength?”

WSU: “Defense. 24 interceptions are pretty impressive, 5 of which were returned for Touchdowns. WSU also led the NSIC in punt return yards and average yards per return. 2 went for touchdowns.”

TLW: “What would you say is their most glaring weakness?”

WSU: “Our passing game- I believe we are near the bottom of the conference in yards per game and touchdowns. “

TLW: “Who are some offensive game changers and what makes them so good?”

WSU: “We have 5 running backs who average over 5 yards a carry. Running back Javian Roebuck leads the team in yards desptite having 18 less carries then the next back. In the passing game Isiah Frandsen is always a threat downfield.”

TLW: “Who are the guys that are the playmakers on defense?”

WSU: “Andrew Spencer, he leads the team with 7 interceptions 2 of which went for touchdowns and in tackles with 76. Mike Imperale and and Nick Pridgeon are both solid linebackers and two guys to watch.”

TLW: You guys have a defense that leads the country with 20 interceptions. Is it bad passing competition, a great defense, or both?

WSU: “I would say its a little of both. The conference lost a lot of stud QB’s from the previous year. This is the best defense WSU has had in a long time, the big reason whey they are in the playoffs. The Mankato game probably could have been a 30 point loss due to the turnovers on offense.”

TLW: “What concerns you about the Lions from what you know?”

McNelly34: “Your Quarterback is a complete stud and a great player, and when that is the case, that is really all I need to know to worry me.”

TLW: “On the flip side, if you were a TAMU-Commerce fan, what do you believe should worry us?”

WSU: “Our opportunistic defense causes a lot of turnovers and the punt return game can flip the field if given the chance. We won the last game of year 52-21 despite only having 214 yards of offense. We returned the opening kick 90 yards for a TD and 2 more defensive touchdowns. “

TLW: “Finally, care to predict a score?”

WSU: “28-24 WSU.”

McNelly34: “WSU 35, TAMUC 17.”

TLW: “Overtime: For the Lion fans who are traveling, what are some things to do and good places to eat up in your neck of the woods?”

WSU: For food I like Rocco’s pizza. Bub’s, Betty Jo’s, and Jeffersons are good burger places in the downtown area and will have a good WSU crowd if you wish to mingle with the fans. Check out http://www.bloedows.com/ for more information.

Mustang: “I am from Marshall, not Winona, but I would tell you this when you go to Winona. Give yourself a little extra time to explore. Maybe even just 2 hours. Go up and look over the town on Sugar Loaf — great view and worth the time. Second, wander down by the Mighty Mississippi and enjoy. Third, wander across the river into Wisconsin ( if you have never been there before).”

Thanks to WSU, McNelly, and Mustang who all did a great job providing me with information. Here is to a great game on Saturday!

Roar Back Here.....

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