With one hand already on the Missouri Valley title, the North Dakota State Bison look to secure two hands on the title with a victory on the road to the Missouri State Bears.
In the 11th matchup between the two teams, history leans to the side of the Bison, who lead the series 8-2. The last time these teams faced off was in Fargo for homecoming. NDSU claimed a dominant 38-10 victory.
For the Bears, they come in a little wounded, currently riding a three-game losing streak. In their latest game, the Bears fell in a 59-7 loss to the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.
The Bears’ defense gave up an astounding 547 yards to the Jackrabbit offense. Missouri State senior Jared Beshore had two interceptions for the Bears, but the offense failed to produce any points after the two turnovers.
The Bears’ offense was completely shut down by South Dakota State’s defense, which had an absolute field day. To start, the Bears ended the game with 1 yard per rush. This low number can be largely attributed to the 50 yards lost on rushing plays compared to the 80 gained.
The Bears also threw four interceptions from three different quarterbacks. After the Bears’ starting quarterback Peyton Huslig threw his second interception, he was benched by head coach Dave Steckel for redshirt freshman Dalton Hill. Hill, who went 0-4-1 on his first two drives, was soon replaced himself.
This loss put Steckel’s all-time coaching record at 11-27, one of MSU’s worst records in school history. In a post-game interview Steckel stated, “We can’t turn the ball over four times and expect to win. It was a total coaching disaster.”
On the other side of the ball, the Bison are coming off a last-minute 17-7 win against Youngstown State, the Bison’s lowest scoring game of the season. The Harvest Bowl victory was largely attributed to big defensive stops from both Greg Menard and Derrek Tuszka.
The offense came out with 193 rushing yards, but in the air NDSU had one of their weakest stat lines of the season. The victory did clinch NDSU a spot in the FCS playoffs and at least a share of the Missouri Valley title.
Although the Herd is coming off one of their worst games of the season and playing on the road, they’re still expected to leave Missouri with a win. The Bison sit currently with a 15-game win streak, going back to last season. That streak ranks second all-time in the FCS. It also ranks second in program history, with a 33-game win streak between 2012-2014.
Bison quarterback Easton Stick will also be looking to set the Missouri Valley Conference’s all-time career rushing record for a quarterback. Stick is just 42 yards behind the current record.
Kicker Cam Pedersen is within touching distance of his own conference record. With five made extra points, the senior would move into first place in MVFC history. Pedersen has not missed an extra point since the regular season finale in 2017.
With big goals on the minds of all Bison players, there will be a lot of expectations going into Saturday’s game. Going against a deflated Missouri State could lead to a big weekend for some individual players to turn some heads. However, with nothing to lose, the Bears may be able to come out and surprise NDSU the same way Youngstown State did. Be sure to tune into the game by radio, TV or online for kickoff 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10.