The Herd defense continued their dominate streak to start the season
The Bison football team played spoiler in Normal, Ill. last Saturday taking down Missouri Valley rival Illinois State 20-0 on the Redbirds homecoming. This was the Herd’s second shutout win of the season as the NDSU defense continues to dominate FCS competition.
Bison defensive tackle Eli Mostaert made life miserable for Redbird quarterback Bryce Jefferson. Mostaert finished the day with 3.5 sacks, as he and the rest of the Bison defensive front forced Jefferson to get rid of the ball early, resulting in an abysmal 4 for 18 stat line for the Redbird signal caller.
The Bison offense, while once again unspectacular, did enough to walk away with the team’s sixth straight win to start the season.
Bison quarterback Quincey Patterson led the way for the Bison carrying the ball 18 times for 100 yards. Once it became clear the Redbirds simply could not move the ball on the Bison defense, the Bison got a up a few scores and leaned heavily on their run game.
The Bison passing offense could not quite find their rhythm, which continues to be a theme as the season nears its halfway point. For now, the Bison can continue to control the ball and rely on their defense to force turnovers and give their offense short fields. However, when playoff time comes around, Patterson and the passing attack may be asked to make a few plays that could decide their season. The passing offense must find a way to get in sync before that time comes.
But for now, the Bison can enjoy the hard earned victory as they return home to take on Missouri State on Saturday.
The Bears will come into the Fargodome boasting a 4-2 record fresh off their 37-7 drubbing of Indiana State.
The matchup to watch is seeing how the Missouri State offense fairs against the top-ranked Bison defense. The Bears have put up at least 30 points in every game since their week one loss to the Big 12’s Oklahoma State, and may be the first team that forces the Bison offense to keep up and win the game for the Herd.
Bear’s quarterback Jason Shelley has been excellent for Missouri State all season. The redshirt junior from Frisco, Texas (we know where that is, right Bison fans?) has posted 17 total touchdowns compared to just three turnovers so far on the season.
Shelley is capable of winning games from the pocket, but it’s his dual threat ability to gash teams by running the ball that makes the Missouri Valley offense so deadly.
Making Shelley and the Bear’s offense one dimensional will be key to the Herd continuing their unbeaten streak to start the season. Whether it’s keeping Shelley in the pocket and letting the Bison’s elite front seven go to work, or eliminating passing lanes and forcing the Bears to methodically work their way downfield, it will be fun to see what the Bison scheme up.