Joe Beschorner – Minnesota State University

FootballScoop is proud to announce that Joe Beschorner is the 2019 FootballScoop Division II Coordinator of the Year presented by AstroTurf as selected by prior winners.

Minnesota State’s offense was so good in 2019 that many of the Mavericks’ opponents are likely in counseling for the damage inflicted upon them.

For starters, MSU topped the half-a-hundred mark six times last fall. They dropped 52 points on No. 12 Minnesota-Duluth, 74 on the University of Mary, 81 on poor Minnesota-Crookston, 62 on Wayne State, 73 on Upper Iowa and 58 at No. 8 Slippery Rock in the Division II semifinals. For a stretch late in the regular season, the Mavericks averaged 72.3 points over a 3-game stretch and 66.4 over a span of five games.

Unsurprisingly, Minnesota State led Division II with 47.5 points per game. Even in their lone loss, coming to West Florida in the Division II title game, MSU racked up 40 points and 562 yards of total offense.

Minnesota-State was powered by a running game that saw Nate Gunn rack up 1,667 yards and 31 touchdowns on 6.4 a carry, Kaleb Sleezer rush for 715 yards and seven scores on 7.4 a pop, and Justin Taormina post 513 yards and eight scores.

In addition to their three rushers of 500-plus yards, eight Mavericks rushed for at least 100 yards and nine players carried the ball into the end zone a total of 59 times, an average of nearly four per game.

In the passing game, Minnesota State leaned on three quarterbacks who combined to complete 57.9 percent of their 373 passes for 3,520 yards (9.4 per attempt) with 30 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. Shane Zylstra was every quarterback’s top target, hauling in 81 receptions for 1,676 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Add it all up and you get an offense that ranked fourth in Division II in total yards (517.7 yards per game), fifth in rushing (283.1) and 16th in passing efficiency (158.36). No offense racked up more first downs than Minnesota State’s 375, and their 49.5 percent conversion rate on third downs rated 11th in Division II.

Gunn, Zylstra and offensive lineman Evan Heim, all seniors, all earned spots on the D2Football.com All-America Team. That trio was joined on the All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference first team by lineman Jared Gossen and tight end Tyler Schmidt, while wide receiver Justin Arnold and linemen Carter Dowdle and Hunter Toppel made the All-NSIC Second Team. Gunn was named a finalist for the Harlon Hill award, the Division II equivalent of the Heisman Trophy.

A Simpson College graduate, Beschorner joined the coaching profession in 2000 as a graduate assistant at Minnesota State. He then spent five seasons as the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at South Dakota, then spent seven years as the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Simpson. He returned to Mankato as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015.

The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by AstroTurf are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Buddy Blevins [Fort Valley State], Roddy Mote [Harding], Adam Neugebauer [Slippery Rock] and Beschorner) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year’s winner.

Beschorner will receive his award and be recognized at an event at the AFCA Convention in January.

Previous winners of the Division II Coordinator of the Year award are Tim Beck (Pittsburg State [Kan.], 2008), Scott Preston (Arkansas Tech, 2009), Ken Collums (Abilene Christian, 2010), Hunter Hughes (Colorado State-Pueblo, 2011), Paul Tortorella (Indiana [Pa.], 2012), Josh Kline (Shepherd [W. Va.], 2013), Rich Wright (Northwest Missouri State, 2014 and 2015), Charlie Flohr (Northwest Missouri State, 2016), Matt Storm (Texas A&M-Commerce, 2017) and Donnell Leomiti (Colorado State-Pubelo, 2018).

keystats

1st Nationally – Scoring Offense           5th Nationally – Rushing Offense
4th Nationally – Total Offense           1st Nationally – First Downs

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National columnist - Zach joined the staff in 2012...and has been attempting to improve Doug and Scott's writing ability ever since (to little avail). Outside of football season, you can find him watching the San Antonio Spurs reading Game of Thrones fan theories.