Coming off a first-round bye, host Minnesota State Mankato got off to a slow start on Saturday.
But the Mavericks, whose first five drives ended in punts, scored 17 points in the second quarter and went on to defeat Colorado State-Pueblo 24-10 in the second round of the Division II playoffs.
In the national quarterfinals, the Mavericks (12-0) will host Tarleton State at noon next Saturday. Tarleton State defeated defending Division II champion Texas A&M-Commerce 34-28 on Saturday.
Ryan Schlichte and J.D. Ekowa each threw a TD pass in the final 10 minutes of the first half as the Mavericks opened a 17-0 halftime lead. The Mavericks extended the lead to 24-0 early in the third quarter.
The ThunderWolves (11-2) pulled within 24-10 with two minutes left in the third quarter, but the Mavericks intercepted two passes in the fourth quarter to hold on.
Nate Gunn rushed for 114 yards and a TD to lead the Mavericks.