Media Blog PostGame Show vs Sam Houston State

North Dakota State is heading back to Frisco for a fourth straight year. The Bison dominated in the second half outscoring the Bearkats 28-0 en route to a 35-3 sending the Bison to the FCS Championship Game for a fourth straight year.

Kyle Emanuel had one of the best games of his career, with 2.5 sacks and 11 tackles, just four days removed from winning the Buck Buchanan Award. Nick DeLuca had another great game with 13 tackles and his third pick of the season and John Crockett chipped in with 166 yards and three touchdowns.

NDSU will now play the winner of Illinois State and New Hampshire in the FCS title game on January 10th.


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FCS Pick ‘Em – Semifinal Edition

Well here we are. It’s the next to last weekend for the FCS season and the lead is one game. Jeff and I have picked today’s NDSU-Sam Houston game, so there’s one other game to pick. We’ll also choose the D2 and D3 Title games!

                                                                        DOM  (150-51)          JEFF (149-52)

  • Illinois State at New Hampshire          Ill. State                   UNH
D2 Championship Game 
  • MSU Mankato vs CSU Pueblo           MSU Mankato         CSU-Pueblo

D3 Championship Game
  • Wis-Whitewater vs Mt Union              Mt. Union                  Whitewater

 

Thursday’s hot links

’13 vs. ’14 teams: Is there really much difference?

It’s been talked about a lot of this season and even head coach Chris Klieman on more than one occasion said this year’s team is not as good overall as the 2013 national title team that went 15-0 and was rarely challenged during the season. It’s generally a safe assumption that team was deeper, especially on defense, than this year’s crew and the backfield and receivers were perhaps a half step above this year’s team in overall talent. But on the whole, is last year’s team that much better?

I’ve referenced this before but statistically, they’re about the same and in several areas, and there are some spots where this year’s team that plays Sam Houston Friday night for the right to go back to Frisco is better. Let’s evaluate the 15-game and 14-game seasons of ’13 and ’14.

  • The 2014 team is better in fewer turnovers (14 to 18), punting average (44.6 to 43.7), passing defense (149 to 165), sacks given up (14 to 18) and turnover margin (plus 9 to plus 5).
  • They are virtually even in passing yards (195 to 200), time of possession (33.58 this year to 33.40 last year), opponents scoring average (13.9 this year to 11.3) and average total yards given up (266 to 256).
  • The 2013 team had a better scoring average at 38.7 points a game to the 33.1 this year, although you could argue last year’s team had a Division II team on the schedule and this year’s team had a tougher non-conference schedule and the Missouri Valley on the whole had a higher GPI than last year. This year’s team is averaging 12 more penalty yards a game (53 to 41).

The 2013 team bombed its way through the playoffs with beatdowns on Furman, Coastal Carolina and New Hampshire. On the flipside, those three were new to the Fargodome, which has not been the case so far this year. South Dakota State has been here a lot lately and Coastal was making its second appearance in a row. Experience makes a difference. Also, quarterback Carson Wentz has been very good since the loss at Northern Iowa completing 52 of 83 passes for 63 percent with 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, no turnovers in the playoffs. He also had 120 yards rushing against Youngstown. It’s an offense that is playing well heading into Friday.

 

Wednesday’s hot links

Sam Houston: breaking down the stats

By this time of the year, statistical analysis provides a rather comprehensive look at each team throughout the season. Normally, anyway. In the case of Sam Houston State, you can probably throw away the first seven games when Sam started the season 3-4 and take a look at the current eight-game win streak, the surge that got them to Friday night’s FCS semifinal game at the dome.

Overall, the Bearkats have a couple of deficiencies in a couple of departments: points allowed at 27.7 per game and total yards given up at 421 a game. Those are the 15-game totals but perhaps a more accurate reflection is to look at the last eight (and in reality I’m throwing out the 76-0 Houston Baptist game because, well, it’s Houston Baptist). In those seven wins, the Bearkats gave up an average of 24.7 points and 430.6 yards per game. The point total is slightly less than the season average but the Kats have given up more yards per game in the victory streak.

What’s that tell us? The offense has gotten better over time, at least ball control in critical times of games, and the team is finding ways to win. Much like the Coastal Carolina game, if the Bison want to get back to Frisco, they’ll have to continue their turnover-free offensive performances and find a few stops somewhere in the second half.

Tuesday’s hot links

  • In addition to studying for finals, the Bison are opening the books on Sam Houston State in preparation for Friday night’s showdown at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome, writes Kevin Schnepf. “They’ve got a ton of ability to make big plays whether it’s running the ball or throwing the ball,” head coach Chris Klieman said. See WDAY’s report here.
  • The defensive strategy shifts for the Bison men’s basketball team as they host Akron tonight.
  • As usual, we’ll have live blog coverage during Friday night’s NDSU-Sam Houston State semifinal game. Look for pregame and postgame shows right here.