Bison prepare for Saluki’s in second round of playoffs

Photo Courtesy|Tim Sanger
Miller and the Bison offense will look to take some pressure off the elite NDSU defense

The Herd look to redeem last season’s loss at the hands of Southern Illinois

Bison playoff football is officially back this Saturday as the Herd welcome Southern Illinois in a second round playoff matchup between Missouri Valley foes.

The Saluki’s are coming to Fargo fresh off a 22-10 road victory over South Dakota in the first round last Saturday.

This is the first meeting between the two squads since the Saluki’s snapped the Bison’s FCS record 39-game winning streak last February. But USI didn’t just beat NDSU, they laughed them out of the stadium with a 38-14 drubbing. It was embarrassing, and the worst Bison loss in 10 years.

In the playoffs, extra motivation should not be necessary, but given the circumstances it is not hard to see why Matt Entz and his players would have some added incentive to redeem last season’s defeat.

However, Entz claims this is not the case.

“We haven’t talked about it. It’s the next game.”

Nice job on the coach-speak coach Entz, but I simply do not believe you.

Entz also spoke about what the Bison need to do to avoid another disappointing upset.

“What we need to do is be more efficient on early downs, do a better job of getting into some shorter third downs so we can stay on the field…I thought in the spring they did a great job of keeping our offense off the field, and extending plays.”

Entz is likely alluding to the 41:26-18:34 time of possession advantage the Saluki’s had at the end of the game in February. Being at an over two-to-one time of possession disadvantage is a recipe to lose any football game.

“We got to find ways to get them off the field,” Entz continued. “And in the spring I thought we struggled at that.”

Another storyline to watch is Bison quarterback Cam Miller as he prepares for his third career playoff game. In last year’s playoff run, Miller struggled as a then true freshman completing less than 50% of his passes and throwing for just 140 yards in the Herd’s two playoff games.

Like the spring season, Miller entered this fall second on the depth chart, but now finds himself as the QB one with increased expectations.

While a gaudy stat line is unlikely as the Bison like to grind teams down with their uber efficient run game, if Miller can sustain drives by converting third downs and not put the ball in harm’s way, Miller can show he can be the guy to lead the Bison on another championship run.

The game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. in the Fargodome.

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