A Closer Look At Northern Iowa-NDSU

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 NDSU-UNI series has been seen each team on top over the past five seasons. (Dave Wallis – Forum File Photo)

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.

18 thoughts on “A Closer Look At Northern Iowa-NDSU

  1. This is that one game every year where you , just don’t know! I’m more nervous for this tone than I was for K-State.

  2. This is the championship game in the FCS this year. It’s gonna be a dogfight. I think NDSU has the better defense. I think UNI might have the edge offensively. It may come down to a special teams play and that favors NDSU. I think NDSU wins it 24-20. GO BISON!!!!

  3. If the road to Frisco goes thru Fargo this year, it starts with this game. This will be a great matchup for both teams. Who blinks first?? The 12 man better be ready to make some noise on Saturday. Bison win 21-17 The March is on.

  4. Both teams appear to be better than last year but I will give the edge to the Bison.

    The Bison players and coaches always take their play to a higher level when they get into big games like this one. This group of Bison players have not lost a “big game” since 2010 and the dome will be as loud as it ever has been. I am thinking 28 to 17 Bison.

  5. This is the biggest game of the year. The winner will be ranked #1 on Monday. I too am more concerned about UNI than K State. Both of these teams would finish in the upper part of the Big 10 and have Big 12 wins. These are dream matchups! Make some noise people!

  6. Like Coach Bohl says; offense fills the seats, defense wins championships. Let’s go Bison Defense!!

  7. Was wondering if you could look up a NERD STAT for me. What’s the highest Sagarin rating for an FCS team? The Bison must be pretty close this week and with a win I would assume should climb even higher.

  8. The UNI offense will outperform NDSUs offense for a number of reasons, but most of all because Vigen has yet to figure out how to effectively and CONSISTENTLY move the ball against a 3-4 defense. You would think he would have it figured out by now but he hasn’t.

    Mark my words, the Bison offense will struggle against UNIs defense. They will shut down the running game and Brock will throw at least one pick six in this game. Jensen has thrown three really bad balls and already that have resulted in INTs in four games. That is a lot of interceptions already, which puts him on track to throw 11 for the season, which is BAD!

    Kollmorgen on the other hand has developed into a terrific passer and he protects the ball, no INTs in 4 games. Johnson is a better runner and a better pass catcher than the Bison have on their roster. He will give NDSUs defense fits. NDSU does not do as well against balanced offenses like UNI has.

    My guess is that UNI will win this one going away, largely because of the genius move to a 3-4 defense with the kind of talent and speed Farley attracts.

    • In the past 2 years Bison fans have heard this all before. We have a great rushing game, we have a great qb who will pass all over, our defense is great, ect….. Ask pretty much every team that has said that and ask them how they did. They lost. Now, I’m not saying that this won’t be a good game, or that UNI isn’t a great team. Because are true. Ask SDSU how they with the best RM in the country faired against out D. I’ll save you the searching, he rushed for 4 yards. The Bison offense is conservatice, yes. That’s how the west coast offense works. Even Joey Harrington on the tv broadcast vs K State said the offense is almost boring. It is effective. We run the ball, run the ball, and run the ball. Control the clock and wear you down. By the 4th quarter, we own it. UNI has a great offense. But NDSU’s defense is one of the best in the country, regardless of division. This is a senior led team. They know how to play together better then any other team. The senoirs have already played 59 games together. Im looking forward to a great atmosphere and game. But I have no doubt that NDSU will win.

  9. If UNI is anywhere near as overrated as Sdsu was/still is, this should be another cakewalk.

    • UNI is definitely NOT overrated. They just wooped the 9th ranked team in FCS last week. They beat Iowa State in week one.

      • Beating Iowa State is not that impressive…its like beating Colorado State, Kansas or Minnesota… bottom end FBS programs. If you are a top FCS program, you should be beating the low end FBS programs.

        UNI is good, but I don’t see NDSU losing at home. They may see each other again in the playoffs, hopefully not in the first round (ala SDSU 2012).

        • Bigtime…. so very wrong. FCS teams should NEVER beat schools from BCS conference schools given the disparity in scholarships and athletic spending. The reason that a team like UNI beat Iowa State is because they are good.

          One thing that you rarely see is the best FCS schools blowing (or even soundly beating) the BCS conference schools. Even the NDSU game against a down K-State program had to have a game winning drive to get the win.

          UNI is good and while I do see NDSU winning at home, I don’t think that it will be a blowout

          • scholarships and spending do not equate to winning. FCS Hampton, Morgan State, Davidson, and Grambling would probably lose to the top Division II schools this year even with the discrepancy in scholarships.

  10. These teams may be the two best football teams in the 5 state area. The Bison have a better running game and rushing defense and an edge on special teams. UNI QB is a pure passer and a good one but #16 gives The Bison an edge. After reviewing the books I give the Bison at least a field goal edge.

  11. I don’t think Northern Iowa is overrated. I think this will be a tough game and hopefully NDSU will win. I think the winner of this game will win the conference championship because these are the top two teams in the conference.

  12. This should be the game that determines conference winner but things can change quickly if the injury bug hits. That’s why no one should be taken lightly.