North Dakota State football is facing off against a team this week they should've faced 22 years ago.
The Maine Black Bears were scheduled to be in Fargo to play against the then division two NDSU football team on September 15th, 2001. The game was postponed then canceled to due the events of September 11th. More than two decades later these two teams will finally square off inside the anything but friendly confines of the Fargodome. The University of Maine football program has hit hard times since their semi-final appearance in 2018 when the Black Bears got blown out by Eastern Washington 50-19. Winning just two games the yer before, but this years version of the Black Bears is coming to Fargo off a heartbreaking and near upset of FBS Florida International University in their opener losing 14-12. Maine held FIU to 13 yards rushing on 24 attempts but couldn't get the key score to finish off the Panthers. Maine turns their attention to a Bison team that ran for 337 yards and three touchdowns in a 35-10 win over Eastern Washington. The Maine offense is led by quarterback Derek Robertson, he completed 21 of 43 passes for 213 yards. The Black Bears also ran for 165 yards, 108 of those yards came from the legs of Tristen Kenan. Defensively was really stout agianst the run and sacking FIU quarterback Keyone Jenkins three times. Maine gave up 292 yards passing and two touchdowns, look for NDSU to continue to use the run-pass-option to their advantage as well as their powerful ground game to attack the Black Bear defense. North Dakota State is looking for another statement win to prove that this new look defense is just as good as the defenses that have won titles. The question NDSU must solve this week is the offensive lulls they had during the middle of quarters, if they can keep drives alive by converting on 3rd down and sustain drives and score that will be the answer the offense is looking for.
Kickoff for NDSU vs Maine is set for 2:30 PM at the Fargodome.