Despite the rare loss, the season marches on for NDSU
This is weird. A Spectrum sportswriter has not written an NDSU football preview with the team coming off a loss since November of 2017. Donald Trump had been president for less than a year, Rockstar by Post Malone was the number one song and Thor Ragnarok was the number one movie at the box office. Now here we are over three years later.
Saturday was an ugly loss for the Herd. They allowed big plays, turned the ball over, and were beaten on both sides of the line of scrimmage. It was a drubbing in every sense of the word.
However, the cool thing about football is a week three game does not have to define a season. There is still a lot of ball left to be played in the Missouri Valley, starting this Saturday at Missouri State.
Missouri State is coming off a dramatic 30-24 victory at Western Illinois in their MVFC opener. It’s easy to think the Bears, as well as the rest of the Missouri Valley, will take the attack the Bison the same way the Saluki’s did. Control the clock by running the ball, don’t turn the ball over, and hit on the occasional deep shot. Spoiler alert: doing these things will win most football games at any level ever, but that is exactly what Southern Illinois did.
For NDSU, it’s about finding some continuity on both sides of the ball. This offense is not the same offense that took the field against Central Arkansas in October. Seth Wilson and Phoenix Sproles are both out with injuries, the offensive line has been mixed around and two high-end NFL caliber prospects, Trey Lance and Dillon Radunz, are both preparing for the NFL draft.
It’s a different team, and some patience should be warranted. However, the culture and expectations the football program has built over the past decades demand excellence. It comes with the territory when a player decides to commit to NDSU. Show up, outwork every other team in the country and win championships.
Fans have the luxury of knowing there is no reason to believe that this coaching staff and team can right the ship, and fast. Sure, it was a bad loss. The reality is NDSU wasn’t going to go undefeated until the end of time. The Bison are still ranked number six in the country and are a strong performance on Saturday away from getting any fair-weather bandwagon jumpers back on board.