The NDSU-SDSU matchup Z to Z

Zach Zenner struggles for running room in last year’s game.

I touched on it in today’s Forum story, but the key to Saturday’s NDSU and SDSU game is rather obvious: can the Jackrabbits get running back Zach Zenner going against NDSU? The all-time Missouri Valley Football Conference rushing leader has had games of 34, 43, 46 and 4 yards in the previous four meetings against NDSU.

His production will in theory by vitally important with the Jacks bringing a first-year quarterback to Gate City Bank Field in sophomore Zach Lujan. Relying on the pass for SDSU could by a dicey deal — the Jacks have thrown seven interceptions in the four Valley games and have surrendered 19 quarterback sacks in that span. NDSU quarterback Carson Wentz has gone down seven times all season.

So, getting the Zenner machine going has to be Priority A for SDSU. He told Terry Vandrovec from the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader that he’s always confident in the Jacks’ scheme against NDSU. “It’s really just up to us to execute,” he said.

Is he bothered by his stats vs. NDSU? “What bothers me is offensively the past two games we’ve played them we haven’t done well – that’s the bottom line. As an offense, the really poor performances the past two games – that’s more the frustration for me,” he said.

The question all week has been if NDSU can maintain the amazing hold its had on Zenner. In this matchup, it’s really simple math.

 

Thursday’s hot links

Wednesday’s hot links

In today’s Forum, South Dakota State quarterback Austin Sumner will travel to Fargo but isn’t expected to play. His backup is a sophomore with big credentials.

Former Bison CB Marcus Williams is added to the New York Jets active roster in time for an upcoming game against Kansas City. WDAY story here.

The Bison volleyball team dispatches league-leading Denver at home. WDAY highlights

Coverage in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

 

 

 

Tuesday’s hot links

The Valley Tiebreaker Procedure

As we enter the final month of the regular season the Missouri Valley has two teams that started the season 7-0 or better for the first time in league history. That also brings with it the unique possibility of two teams tying for the league title, that will NOT play one another. NDSU and Illinois State each are at 4-0 in conference play, but with the conference at ten teams and wanting to stay at an eight game league schedule, that means teams will miss one another and NDSU-ISU is on the rotation for the next two years. That provides for a unique situation if the Bison and Redbirds end up tied come November 22nd. Here’s what the two teams have left:

NDSU – vs. SDSU, at Northern Iowa, at Missouri State, vs. Youngstown State

Ilinois State – at Northern Iowa, vs Youngstown State, at South Dakota, vs Southern Illinois

Now the biggest question we’ve received on the blog is what happens if NDSU and Illinois State are tied, who receives the automatic qualifier to the FCS Playoffs? Here’s the answer straight from the Valley’s Assistant Commissioner; Mike Kern:

  • If the tied teams did not play each other, then each team’s record against all common conference opponents shall be used to determine the NCAA automatic qualifier.
  • ·If the teams are still tied, then each team’s record against the next highest common opponent in the conference standings shall be used to determine the NCAA automatic qualifier.
  • ·If the teams are still tied, the latest available GPI ranking prior to NCAA selection shall be used as the final tiebreaker.

Jeff has more on the tiebreaker dilemma if needed here.

 

Dom’s FCS Poll – Thru Week 9

  1. North Dakota State    (8-0, beat USD)    * FBS win      Previous: 1
  2. Villanova                  (7-1, beat Morgan St)                  Previous: 3
  3. Coastal Carolina     (7-0, beat Charleston So.)            Previous: 4
  4. New Hampshire      (6-1, beat Stony Brook)               Previous: 5
  5. Illinois State            (7-0, beat Mo State)                    Previous: 8
  6. Eastern Washington (7-2, lost to No. Arizona)           Previous: 2
  7. Jacksonville State  (6-1, beat Tennessee Tech)         Previous: 9
  8. Montana State       (6-2, BYE week)                         Previous: 12
  9. McNeese State    (5-2, beat Incarnate Word)           Previous: 13
  10. Fordham              (7-1, beat Lehigh)                        Previous: 10
  11. Southeastern Louisiana (6-3, lost to Stephen F)      Previous: 7
  12. Eastern Kentucky (7-1, beat SEMO) *FBS win        Previous: 14
  13. Richmond           (6-2, beat Elon)                           Previous: 15
  14. Youngstown State  (6-2, beat SDSU)                     Previous: 19
  15. Montana           (5-3, lost to Cal Poly)                    Previous: 6
  16. Bethune-Cookman (6-2 lost to SCSU) *FBS win   Previous: 11
  17. Chattanooga     (5-3, beat Mercer)                        Previous: 17
  18. Indiana State    (5-3, beat So. Illinois) *FBS win    Previous: 25
  19. Liberty             (5-3, BYE week)        *FBS win     Previous: 18
  20. South Dakota State (5-3, lost to Youngstown)     Previous: 16
  21. Albany            (6-2, beat Colgate)                       Previous: 24
  22. Northern Iowa (4-4, beat Western Illinois)          Previous: 22
  23. Cal Poly         (5-3, beat Montana)                     Previous: Unranked
  24. Northern Arizona (5-3, beat EWU)                     Previous: Unranked
  25. Harvard         (6-0, beat Princeton)                   Previous: 23

Monday’s hot links

 

 

 

 

FCS Sunday Night Ramblings

From a new location in the bunker, thoughts on the Missouri Valley race, how Youngstown’s schedule gets tougher, how UNI controls its own destiny and the latest round of bracketology! All in 6 minutes or less!


Poll talk

My ballot for this week’s Sports Network FCS top 25 media poll. Cal Poly, Northern Iowa and Stephen F. Austin climb back in with victories. There are a pile of 5-3 teams that are hanging on for FCS playoff life heading into November.

  1. North Dakota State (8-0)
  2. Villanova (7-1)
  3. New Hampshire (6-1)
  4. Illinois State (7-0)
  5. Coastal Carolina (8-0)
  6. Eastern Washington (7-2)
  7. Jacksonville State (6-1)
  8. Montana State (6-2)
  9. McNeese State (5-2)
  10. Youngstown State (6-2)
  11. Fordham (7-1)
  12. Richmond (6-2)
  13. William & Mary (5-3)
  14. Eastern Kentucky (7-1)
  15. Southeastern Louisiana (6-3)
  16. Indiana State (5-3)
  17. Montana (5-3)
  18. James Madison (5-3)
  19. Cal Poly (5-3)
  20. South Dakota State (5-3)
  21. Chattanooga (5-3)
  22. Albany (6-2)
  23. Stephen F. Austin (6-2)
  24. Northern Iowa (4-4)
  25. Harvard (6-0)