NDSU heads up I-94 to face UND for the 116th time

Photo Courtesy: NDSU Athletics
Photo Courtesy: NDSU Athletics

(Grand Forks, ND) -- For only the sixth time as D-1 opponents the universities of North Dakota and North Dakota State will meet on the football field.

NDSU heads to Grand Forks coming off a 38-10 win over the Bears of Missouri State, the Bison offense tallied 534 yards of total offense and they did it almost as balanced as you can get as they threw for 276 yards and ran for 258 yards. NDSU's "Code Green" defense got back to their old ways as they held Missouri State to 82 rushing yards and ten points, as well as forcing four turnovers. 

NDSU has its work cut out for them this week as UND's offense averages 35.6 points per game and ranks 33rd in total offense averaging 395 yards per contest. The Fighting Hawks offense is led by the dynamic Tommy Shuster who has passed for 987 yards, six touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He is a very efficient passer who doesn't make very many mistakes, he also has a very talented weapon at wide receiver in Bo Belquist. Belquist has been a stud for UND during his career, he leads the team in receiving yards, catches, and touchdowns. His status for Saturday in unclear as he was injured last week in the teams 49-10 win over Western Illinois. He didn't play in the second half and neither did the team's second-leading receiver, Red Wilson as he also had an undisclosed injury. UND head coach Bubba Schweigert told the press on Monday it was a coaches decision to hold them out. UND is ranked 51st in rushing averaging a little more than 153 yards a game and they have four running backs with over 100 yards rushing.

Defensively, UND has been inconsistent as they give up 24 points a contest and they give up 360 yards per game but they do have some defensive talent. They are led on defense by linebacker Wyatt Pedigo who has 31 tackles and two sacks on the season. The secondary is led by C.J. Siegel who has four pass breakups and is the emotional leader on the defense.

For NDSU to be successful and go 6-0 in the D-1 era against UND they have to be able to contend with the noise of the Alerus Center, so communication in the huddle will be key. UND gives up over 140 yards on the ground per game so running the ball effectively will allow for Cam Miller and his receivers to get open and create mismatches on the outside. The Bison defense has to get Tommy Schuster and the offense off the field early and the Bison are first in the FCS with a +10 turnover margin. So keeping UND off the field and forcing turnovers are gonna be some key things that the herd will look to do in order to secure another win over their rival from 75 miles north.

Kickoff between the Bison and Fighting Hawks is set for 1 p.m. at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.