- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 2, 2015

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota’s opener is nationally televised against second-ranked TCU.

But beyond the Gophers, there’s another big game in the state set for Thursday night two levels down. Minnesota State hosts Minnesota Duluth, pitting the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference favorites against each other on the first weekend of the season.

The game is at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato, where the Mavericks beat the Bulldogs last December in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs. Minnesota State went on to the championship game, losing to Colorado State-Pueblo in the final.

The Mavericks are ranked first in the American Football Coaches Association preseason poll. The Bulldogs are third.

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