MSU Mankato will try and hold off surprising Upper Iowa this week

GAME OF THE WEEK

MSU Mankato (6-0, 2-0 NSIC South) at Upper Iowa (4-2, 1-1), 5:07 p.m., Saturday: The Mavericks are ranked No. 4 and have the top scoring offense (42.3 points per game) and total offense (499.7 yards per game) in the NSIC. Upper Iowa, which was picked to finish seventh in the NSIC South preseason poll, already has surpassed its victory total of last season. The Peacocks, who were 3-8 last season, are coming off a 34-29 victory over Concordia (St. Paul).

WEEK 7 STORYLINES

• Minnesota Duluth is 58-3 against NSIC North Division teams since the NSIC split into two divisions for football in 2008. On Saturday, the Bulldogs (4-2, 2-0 NSIC North) will play at Northern State (3-3, 2-0). Northern State is the last NSIC North team to defeat the Bulldogs. The Wolves defeated the Bulldogs 23-15 on Oct. 31, 2015, in Aberdeen, S.D.

• The D3football.com Top 25 poll includes eight teams — three from the MIAC and two from the WIAC — from the West Region. UW-Oshkosh is ranked No. 3 while MIAC-leading St. Thomas is ranked No. 6. Other West teams in the rankings: Linfield (No. 7), St. John’s (No. 8), UW-Platteville (No. 9), George Fox (No. 21), Wartburg (No. 22) and Concordia-Moorhead (No. 23).

• One team that is missing from the Division III Top 25 is UW-Whitewater. The Warhawks, who were ranked as high as No. 3 in preseason polls, started the season 1-3 before defeating then-No. 23 UW-Stout 14-0 last Saturday. The Warhawks, who have won six national championships in the past 12 seasons, play host to UW-La Crosse (5-0, 2-0 WIAC) Friday. The Eagles are ranked No. 24 in the AFCA Div. III poll.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Nate Gunn, RB, MSU Mankato: The sophomore from Minooka, Ill., has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of the Mavericks’ six games. Gunn leads the NSIC in rushing yards (944) and rushing TDs (10).

Jake Marsh, QB, Bethel: The sophomore from Plymouth is second in the MIAC with 1,012 passing yards in conference games. Last Saturday, he completed 22 of 25 passes for 320 yards and three TDs in the Royals’ 49-0 victory over Carleton.

BY THE NUMBERS

16 Consecutive victories by Minnesota Duluth over MSU Moorhead.

17 Consecutive victories in NSIC games by Sioux Falls before a 31-13 loss to Winona State last Saturday.

19 Seasons since Winona State started a season 6-0. The Warriors (6-0 overall, 2-0 NSIC South) play at Concordia (St. Paul) on Saturday.

Joel Rippel