NDSU Football Homecoming Preview

Currently sitting in the number one spot in the FCS rankings with an overall record of 3-0, North Dakota State’s football team is as prepared as they’ll ever be to begin play in the Missouri Valley Football Conference in their homecoming matchup against Illinois State on October 1.

Following what has to be one of the biggest victories in NDSU’s history with a huge upset against Iowa, the Herd has all eyes on them.

A sixth straight FBS victory (including wins against Kansas, the University of Minnesota, Colorado State, Kansas State, Iowa State and obviously most recently, number 11 Iowa) has earned the Bison some national recognition — and with good reason.

Recording the most votes for an FCS football team in history in the AP Poll, the team was placed at 27th, tied at 74 votes with UCLA.

Not only is the team being recognized on a larger scale than they’re used to, they’re also receiving plenty of honors in their own conference including an Offensive Lineman of the Week award for right tackle Landon Lechler, a Defensive Player of the Week award for linebacker MJ Stumpf and a Special Teams Player of the Week for kicker Cam Pederson.

Senior Landon Lechler played a key role in the team’s win against Iowa tallying five knockdowns and preventing an impressive Iowa offensive from either sacking or hurrying Easton Stick in 70 total snaps.

MJ Stumpf opened the scoring for NDSU when he had a 21-yard pick-six, giving the Bison some early courage. Other solid defenders included Nick DeLuca (who, even with an injured shoulder, managed eight tackles) and Robbie Grimsley who recorded six tackles and a major sack as well as a forced fumble.

As for Pederson, who is 3-5 on the season for field goals, his 37-yard game winner was the second game-altering kick he has had this season.

While BisoNation is still celebrating the big upset, the team has been hard at work.

Following a press conference informing fans that Nick DeLuca would be missing the rest of the season following surgery on a shoulder injury suffered in the first game of the season, adjustments will need to be made. Matt Plank will fill in for DeLuca moving forward.

With a rough game last weekend where multiple players suffered either a few scrapes and bruises or a few minor injuries, a bye week before their homecoming matchup is exactly what they need.

Going up against a tough Illinois State game who is 2-1 on the season, with their only loss coming from Eastern Illinois earlier this season, the Bison will need to continue their winning ways.

The last time the Bison played the Redbirds, it was in Frisco for the 2014 championship. Illinois State took the lead late, but a touchdown by Carson Wentz kept the title in Fargo.

The pressure is on for NDSU — and with a few of their key players missing with injury, some of the younger guys will need to step up.

Either way, homecoming never disappoints with thrilling sporting events, plenty of alumni, as well as a great football matchup with tailgating prior to the game.

Bison Nation is sure to show up in a big way to cheer the Herd to a 4-0 record.

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