Last week, the BMB tapped into an old expert on how to attack the 3-4 defense. It was some pretty detailed stuff and something that will be archived for a long time. This week, the average gemoke can take a look into the statistics of NDSU and SDSU and figure out what’s going on. SDSU loves the forward pass; more than ever.
That can be taken a couple of ways. Austin Sumner has nice size for a thrower at 6-5 and a nice arm. But the Jacks also don’t have that Ranek-Watson-Minett player at running back, not yet anyway. Keep in mind Tyrel Kool is in his first year as a running back so you never know when the home field in this game can ignite somebody.
That being said, the best way to beat the Bison in the last couple of years is to run the ball. Last year, Northern Iowa did it with Tirrell Rennie running the show. Illinois State put two backs over 100 yards. Western Illinois had veteran quarterback Matt Barr who picked up some valuable yardage with his legs. Missouri State just needed a field goal to win 3-0 and Eastern Washington’s Taiwan Jones went over 200 yards in the first half in the FCS quarterfinal playoff game.
The Tampa 2 defense is pretty good against the pass and teams rarely get big plays against it. Look for Sumner to try to find pockets underneath, much like Missouri State did last week with the exception of one long bomb against what looked to be broken coverage.
On the flipside, the Jacks are surrendering 199.7 yards per game rushing and 427.1 yards overall. That’s a lot. Last week, Rennie, not really known for his passing before this season, was 16 of 20 for 239 yards and four touchdowns. He was also held to 13 yards on 10 carries, which seems almost unbelievable for a runner of his talents. So, if the Jacks stack the line of scrimmage, look for Brock Jensen to do what he did last week: throw on first down a lot.
A lot has been made of NDSU not winning in Brookings since 1999. But usually, the better team wins this game. The Bison were terrible in 2002 and 2009 with a combined record in those two years of 5-16. The Jackrabbits won three in a row in this series before last year because they had better talent — some 10 players from those teams had pro tryouts. The trend has appeared to reverse itself last year and, so far, this year.