North Dakota State heads to Springfield, Missouri in search of their first conference win of the season.
The Bison were shocked last Saturday by the South Dakota Coyotes and they paid the price in the polls dropping from second to eighth in the polls. NDSU now turns the page to a team they should be able to get back on track against, Missouri State. The Bears are 1-3 on the season with losses to Kansas, UT-Martin, and Southern Illinois. Their lone win was against Utah Tech who just recently joined FCS football. Missouri State is improving as they only lost to Southern Illinois by 13 but it will take a lot more than what they gave the Salukis to beat a Bison team that is playing with a chip on its shoulder.
The Bears are led by first-year coach Ryan Beard who takes over for Bobby Petrino who took off for Texas A&M. The offense is led by quarterback Jacob Clark who has been solid so far this season passing for 1018 yards and 10 touchdowns while only throwing two picks. Clark's favorite target #6 Raylen Sharpe, has caught 22 passes for 310 yards and one touchdown, Sharpe's 310 receiving yards are good for 44th in the FCS. The Bears don't run the ball that well but their leading ground gainer is #9 Jacradia Wright who has rushed for just 177 yards on 52 attempts and averages only 3.4 yards per carry.
Missouri State has struggled on defense to be kind, they are 95th in scoring defense allowing 33 points per contest. They have allowed 30+ points in three of the four games so far this season, they also give up over 435 yards a game which is 99th in the FCS. The Bears best defensive player is Sophomore Safety Todric McGee, he totaled 40 tackles and one fumble recovery.
For NDSU to be successful this weekend they must get back to what they do best, get a lead, run the ball effectively, and play stout defense. "Code Green" stuggled against USD on 3rd down and in the passing game that allowed the Coyotes to stay on the field and drain the clock, if the Bison can get Missouri State off the field consistently they should be able to win and win comfortably.
Kickoff at Plaster Stadium in Springfield, Missouri is set for 2 p.m between the Bison and the Bears.