Bison Open Valley Football Schedule Saturday at South Dakota


THIS WEEK: No. 1-ranked North Dakota State (2-1) opens the Missouri Valley Football Conference schedule at South Dakota (1-2) this Saturday, Sept. 24. Game time is 1 pm at the DakotaDome (9,100) in Vermillion, SD

TELEVISION: The statewide ABC network of WDAY (Fargo), WDAZ (Grand Forks), KBMY (Bismarck/Dickinson) and KMCY (Minot/Williston) will have live coverage beginning at 1 pm with Judge Izzo (play-by-play), Kyle Emanuel (analyst) duck Logan Campbell (sideline). South Dakota’s telecast on Midco Sports will also be available to ESPN+ subscribers on ESPN.com and the ESPN app.

RADIO: Statewide coverage begins at 12 pm on the Pioneer Seeds Bison Radio Network including Bison 1660 and 107.9 The Fox in Fargo with Rob Hipp (play-by-play), Phil Hansen (analyst) and Cole Jirik (sideline). The network broadcast includes 1-hour pregame and 30-minute postgame shows. Streaming is available on GoBison.com/allaccess and the NDSU Athletics mobile app.

THE SERIES: This is the 86th meeting between North Dakota State and South Dakota. NDSU has won five straight and leads the all-time series 57-26-2 dating back to 1903. The Bison have a 23-16-1 record in Vermillion with three straight victories. This is NDSU’s first game in the DakotaDome since 2018. The spring 2021 matchup was canceled due to COVID-19 protocol.

LAST YEAR: North Dakota State beat South Dakota 52-24 in the regular-season finale last season at the Fargodome. NDSU rushed for 303 yards and six touchdowns with nine ball carriers combining to average 6.4 yards per carry. Jalen Bussey rushed five times for a game-high 62 yards including a 20-yard TD, TaMerick Williams had 12 carries for 60 yards and two TDs, and Kobe Johnson rushed 13 times for 55 yards and a TD. Cam Miller was 19-for-23 passing for 219 yards with a 75-yard touchdown to two Phoenix Sproles.

NO BREAK: After a 7 am arrival home Sunday after finishing non-conference play at Arizona, the Bison jump right into Missouri Valley Football Conference play without a bye week. This is only the fourth time NDSU has gone straight from non-conference to MVFC play without an off week and the first time since 2010. NDSU has a bye in week 8 this season, the third latest off week for the Bison behind 2009 (week 10) and 2010 (week 9).

CONFERENCE OPENERS: North Dakota State begins its 15th season in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with an 11-3 record in conference opening games and 11 straight wins including a 16-10 victory at North Dakota last year. This is the 10th time in 15 seasons that NDSU will open conference play on the road.

ARIZONA HOLDS OFF NDSU: Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura rushed for 50 yards and passed for 229 including the go-ahead touchdown with 4:53 left and the Wildcats held on to beat North Dakota State 31-28 last week, snapping NDSU’s six-game winning streak over FBS opponents . NDSU’s Hunter Luepke rushed 18 times for 155 yards and two touchdowns and added three receptions for 65 yards and one score. NDSU’s 283 rushing yards were the third most by the Bison against an FBS opponent. NDSU was 0-for-2 on fourth down and lost a fumble in the red zone, and Arizona answered all three of those possessions with touchdowns. The Bison outgained Arizona 407-394 in total yards and had a slight edge in time of possession 31:18 to 28:42. NDSU had six penalties for 60 yards compared to one for 15 yards against Arizona.

BOUNCING BACK: North Dakota State has not lost back-to-back football games since a five-game losing streak in the middle of the 2009 season. The Bison rebounded from a 27-19 loss at South Dakota State last year with a 49-17 road win over Youngstown State. NDSU has not lost back-to-back road trips since its 0-2 start in 2009 with losses at Iowa State (34-17) and Sam Houston State (48-45).

GOOD WORKS TEAM: Linebacker James Kaczor was named to the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, which recognizes 11 FBS players and 11 players from FCS, Division II, Division III and NAIA for outstanding contributions to their communities. Kaczor’s activities include Feed My Starving Children, Charism, River City Church and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He is the ninth NDSU player named to the Good Works Team since 2004 and the third in the past five years. Fans can vote for the 2022 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team captain once a day through Nov. 22 at ESPN.com/Allstate.

LUEPKE FOR SIX: Twelve different players have scored touchdowns in the first three games for North Dakota State, but Hunter Luepke is doing it more often than almost everybody in the FCS. Luepke leads the MVFC and ranks sixth nationally with four rushing TDs. He also leads the league and ranks fourth nationally with six total TDs including two touchdown receptions. Luepke has scored in six consecutive games and has 14 total TDs in his past 10 games played.

PRICE LEADS NATION: NDSU’s Jayden Price leads the FCS in punt returns this week with an average of 21.2 yards per return. Price is the FCS active career leader with a punt return average of 15.37, which ranks second in school history behind Travis White‘s 16.0 average from 2002 to 2006. Price moved into a tie for second place all-time at NDSU with his third career punt return touchdown in the win over Drake. He is tied with Ryan Smith (2010-13) and Keith Krebsbach (1972-73) behind Richard Lewiswho had four punt return TDs over the 2000 and 2001 seasons.

JOHNSON ON THE RETURN: NDSU kickoff returner Kobe Johnson ranks seventh in the FCS this week averaging 26.8 yards per return. Johnson had returns of 48 and 42 yards in the win over North Carolina A&T. Coupled with punt returner Jayden Price‘s 66-yard TD against Drake, the return duo has accounted for three of the Bison’s six longest plays of the season.

MILLER ON POINT: Quarterback Cam Miller has attempted 82 consecutive passes without an interception over his last six games. Miller’s only interception in the past nine games came on his final attempt in the NCAA second round playoff win over Southern Illinois last December. He currently ranks fifth all-time at NDSU in completion percentage (63.9) and third in pass efficiency (161.0). Miller has thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of the last five games.

SCHOOL RECORD RETURN: Safety Dawson Weber‘s 79-yard fumble return touchdown against North Carolina A&T tied the NDSU school record set by Claudie Miller on Oct. 31, 1925, at North Dakota. After going nearly four years without a defensive touchdown, North Dakota State’s defense scored in back-to-back games. Weber’s strip sack against Drake led to a 5-yard fumble return touchdown for the defensive tackle Will Mostaert.

MAUCH AWARDED: Left tackle Cody Mauch was named Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week for the first time in his career after playing 33 snaps against Drake with no sacks, quarterback pressures or tackles for loss allowed. Mauch graded out with 12 plus-physical plays and helped the Bison rush for 274 yards and 7.4 yards per carry in the win.

BISON PICKED TO WIN: North Dakota State received 39 of 41 first-place votes to claim the top spot in a preseason poll of the Missouri Valley Football Conference head coaches, media and sports information directors. South Dakota State had the remaining two votes in second place followed by Missouri State third, Southern Illinois fourth, Northern Iowa fifth, South Dakota sixth and North Dakota seventh. Illinois State, Youngstown State, Indiana State and Western Illinois rounded out the poll in order eighth through 11th.

PRESEASON ALL-CONFERENCE: Twelve NDSU players were named to the Preseason All-MVFC Team including four on the first team: fullback Hunter Luepkeleft tackle Cody Mauchdefensive tackle Eli Mostaert and safety Michael Tutsie. NDSU’s eight preseason second-team honorees were running backs Kobe Johnsontight end Noah Gindorffleft guard Nash Jensendefensive end Spencer Wagelinebacker James Kaczorcornerback Destin Talbertsafety Dawson Weber and return specialist Jayden Price.

PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS: North Dakota State had nine players named to preseason All-America teams. Fullback Hunter Luepketight end Noah Gindorffleft tackle Cody Mauch and safety Michael Tutsieleft guard Nash Jensen and defensive tackle Eli Mostaert were recognized by HERO Sports. Luepke, Mauch, Tutsie, defensive end Spencer Wagelinebacker James Kaczor and punt returner Jayden Price were recognized by Stats Perform.

SENIOR BOWL WATCH LIST: North Dakota State fullback Hunter Luepketight end Noah Gindorff and left tackle Cody Mauch were among the NFL prospects on the preseason watch list for the Reese’s Senior Bowl, widely regarded as the top college football all-star game. The Bison have had 11 players selected including wide receiver Christian Watson last year.

AWARD WATCH LISTS: Fullback Hunter Luepke was named to the preseason watch list for the Walter Payton Award presented to the FCS Offensive Player of the Year, and defensive end Spencer Wagelinebacker James Kaczor and safety Michael Tutsie were named to the watch list for the Buck Buchanan Award presented to the FCS Defensive Player of the Year. Additionally, NDSU’s Kaedin Steindorf was named to the FCS Punter of the Year watch list.

BISON AT HOME: The Bison have a 178-27 record in the Fargodome, 31-5 at home against FCS Top 10 ranked teams, and winners of 76 of the last 78 home games over non-conference opponents. North Dakota State has a 31-1 record in the Fargodome during the NCAA playoffs since 2010 with the only loss coming to eventual national champion James Madison in the 2016 semifinals. NDSU’s 32-game home winning streak in the Fargodome from September 2017 through April 2021 was the fourth longest in NCAA FCS history.

ON THE ROAD: North Dakota State has a 47-7 record in true road games since 2011, and that record is 58-7 including 11 neutral site games over the same span. NDSU’s 2-2 road record in the spring season of 2020-21 was the first time since 2010 the Bison have lost multiple road games.

BISON RETURNING TO TWIN CITIES: North Dakota State will host Eastern Washington on the opening weekend of the 2023 season at US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. NDSU drew a crowd of 34,544 fans to the 2019 season opener against Butler at Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins.

#PROVISION: North Dakota State has 15 former players with NFL clubs including 12 on active rosters and two on practice squads. The list includes the Broncos Olympics Billy Turner (9th year), Commander’s QB Carson Wentz (7th), Brown’s Olympics Joe Hague (7th), Lions LB Chris Board (5th), Chargers QB Easton Stick (4th), Broncos practice squad WR Darrius Shepherd (4th), Vikings TE Ben Ellefson (3rd), Titans LB Derek Tuszka (3rd), 49ers QB Trey Lance (2nd), Titans Olympics Dillon Radunz (2nd), Cowboys LB Jabril Cox (2nd), Packers WR Christian Watson (1st), Bengal’s Olympics Cordell Volson (1st), Rams practice squad LB Brayden Thomas (1st) and Panthers practice squad TE Josh Babicz (1pc).

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