Bison dominate Penguins as FCS Playoffs loom

The Herd enter the regular season finale with hopes of securing home field in the playoffs

The Bison took care of business against Youngstown State, defeating the conference rival Penguins 49-17. NDSU had their best game of the season on the ground running the ball for a staggering 454 yards. Sophomore TK Marshal had just three rushes for *checks notes* 146 yards which led both teams.

Joining in on the running palooza was SMU transfer TaMerik Williams who ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns himself.

Starting quarterback Cam Miller also quietly had a very good game in his own right. Although he threw just 14 passes, Miller was extremely efficient throwing for 169 yards and a pair of scores.

The win helped the Bison secure at worst a share of the Missouri Valley Conference title, while a win against South Dakota next week will give the Bison the title outright.

However, something much larger than a conference championship may be at stake in next week’s regular season finale.

If the Bison win against the Coyotes next week, and it’s a big if as USD is 7-3 and the 16th ranked team in the country, the Bison will move to 10-1 and will be very much in play for a top-two seed in the upcoming playoffs.

While undefeated and defending national champion, Sam Houston State all but has the number one seed sewn up, the number two overall seed is just as beneficial.

The number two seed would mean home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and a potentially easier path of opponents as the Bison gear up for another run at Frisco.

The problem is, their is a lot of competition for that coveted number one overall seed. If the season ended tomorrow, the spot would likely go to 2020 FCS runner-up and old Bison playoff foe James Madison. The Dukes welcome a 4-6 Towson team to town on Saturday. While Towson is already on the outside looking in of the playoffs, the Tigers have been a good program in recent years, and while an upset would be a surprise, it’s certainly not out of the question.

Also vying for the number two seed is the Big Sky’s Montana State Bobcats. The Bobcats have a much tougher task than James Madison on Saturday as they go on the road to take on in-state rival Montana. The Grizz hold an 8-2 record of their own, and need this win if they hope to elevate their own seeding for the playoffs. While a win on the road here would be a nice resume builder for the Bobcats, a loss could be devastating if they hope to remain in the top-6 seeds.

That brings us back around to the Bison. If the Bison, Bobcats and Dukes all win, will the Herd secure the number two seed? Probably not. For that to happen, the Bison would need to romp South Dakota, and need both other teams to play close, and look bad doing it. College football remains the only sport in the world where style points matter.

While it will take a win and perhaps a little luck to get the seed the Bison want, it will be fun last week of the regular season.

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