For as much as said last week about SDSU being the new rival for NDSU, in my mind there’s no disputing that Northern Iowa has taken that mantle from UND. The two schools have had it out for one another since the Bison joined the Missouri Valley in 2008 and NDSU was voted the preseason conference favorite.
The two schools vie for the same players, the Twin Cities has become a battleground for each, UNI used to dominate the area, and now NDSU has found some of its best players there. A closer look at the numbers bears out how this series has turned in recent years:
2008-2010: UNI goes 3-0 vs NDSU, outscores Bison 81-49
- NDSU commits 10 turnovers in those three games, UNI only 5
- NDSU is held to its worst rushing performance in school history (-40 yards in 2010)
- NDSU allows 11 sacks in one game (2010)
- Nick Mertens throws for 308 yards (last NDSU QB to pass for 300 yards in a game)
2011 + 2012: NDSU goes 2-0 vs UNI, outscores Panthers 60-40
- NDSU commits 1 turnover, UNI commits 6
- Brock Jensen: 44-56, 447 yards, 2 TD in last two meetings
- NDSU has outrushed UNI 321-125 in last two meetings
The numbers were a little surprising, total turnovers both came out even at 11, but if there’s one thing that the stats show is that the better teams have won the first five meetings, there hasn’t been any upsets or surprises and there won’t be any on Saturday, the better team will win.