The Sunday Live Chats are on hold for a bit, we’re bringing back the videos from the new and improved bunker! Tonight a first look at the projected playoff field, also former NDSU All-American Paul Cornick will start at right tackle for the Denver Broncos in their Sunday night title with the San Francisco 49ers, more from the Denver Post here. Enjoy!
A lot of things seemed to click on Saturday for NDSU as the Bison played their most complete game of the season, beating Indiana State 34-17 for a 31st consecutive win. Zach Vraa scored two touchdowns (his first two of the season); John Crockett racked up over 100 yards rushing and Kyle Emanuel had 2.5 sacks as the Bison dominated the Sycamores. NDSU improved to 7-0 on the season and 3-0 in Valley play with three of their final five games on the road.
Join WDAY sports director Dom Izzo and The Forum’s Jeff Kolpack and Eric Peterson for the Bison Pre Game Show LIVE from the Fargodome at 11:30am CST. Can’t watch the live stream? We’ll post a VOD shortly after the broadcast right here.
It was a week of havoc on the Pick ‘Em thanks to Western Illinois and William and Mary, Kolpack has a two game lead as we start the second half of the season. Some of the top ranked teams have the week off but that doesn’t mean some good games this weekend. Reminder: Kolpack and Izzo LIVE 9-11 am on 970 WDAY, followed by Media Blog PreGame Show LIVE from the students waiting in line at the Dome, 11:30 on WDAY’Z Xtra and wday.com. On to the picks!
DOM (83-19) JEFF (85-17)
Towson at Delaware Del Del
UC Davis at (6) Montana UM UM
South Dakota at Missouri State Mo St Mo St
(4) Villanova at (18) William & Mary Vill Vill
(17) Southern Illinois at (19) Youngstown St SIU SIU
(9) Illinois State at Western Illinois Ill. St WIU
Bison fans show the look of defeat in the closing seconds of the Indiana State game in 2012
I keep going back to that number, the average yards rushing per game for Indiana State heading into Saturday’s return to the Fargodome against NDSU. Back in the Shakir Bell heyday of a couple of years ago, that was less than a half’s worth of production for the Sycamores, who have been relying on the passing game and a physical defense to put themselves in the FCS playoff hunt. That may bode well for most of the Missouri Valley games, but it generally doesn’t work at the dome, where the crowd noise and NDSU’s Tampa 2 defensively philosophy make the passing game a tough proposition.
The Bison have won 49 of their last 51 games, but let’s scrutinize the two losses and how they happened: The Sycs, of course, were the last team to do it and Bell had a good second half in running the ball, picking up a couple of key first downs in the fourth quarter when the Bison needed the ball back. In 2011, Jamaine Cook had 147 yards rushing and Youngstown won 27-24 at the dome thanks to a time of possession advantage of 37 minutes to 23.
In other words, both of those teams beat NDSU at its own game: a power running attack and holding on to the ball. So getting back to that 86.2; barring an NDSU offensive collapse, ISU most likely has to somehow find a way to reverse that stat if it wants to make it two straight at the dome.