Illinois State head coach Brock Spack sounded like he was ready to put on the helmet and pads himself this week when talking about his team’s game with the Bison on Saturday. Now in his fourth year, he’s done quite the job in Normal — the four straight years of winning seasons are the first for the school since 1945-48. The last time the program saw the playoffs was in 1999 when it reached the semifinals losing to Georgia Southern.
Is ISU ready for the big game? It will have to play better at home and in that regard, the Redbirds are a lot like NDSU. The only two Bison losses the last two years have come in the dome. ISU’s two defeats this year have been at Hancock Stadium — 17-0 to Southern Illinois and 24-17 to Missouri State. It’s also a facility that is in the middle of a $25 million renovation, where only about half of the stadium is in use. Capacity for Saturday is 7,700 people.
This is a huge game for NDSU in this regard: a win and I think the Bison will reach Texas again. A victory assures of a top 2 seed. Home in the dome ills aside, I don’ t think FCS teams outside of the Missouri Valley can come into Fargo and win, not with the defensive statistics I’m seeing from other leagues.