Similar scenario to last year for Bison, BearsFARGO — The mission appeared simple for North Dakota State when it traveled to Missouri State last season. It was the final regular-season game and all the Bison had to do was beat a team that on the surface had little to play for to reach the playoffs.
By: Jeff Kolpack, Forum Communications Co.
FARGO — The mission appeared simple for North Dakota State when it traveled to Missouri State last season. It was the final regular-season game and all the Bison had to do was beat a team that on the surface had little to play for to reach the playoffs.
The result left the Bison players leaving Plaster Field at a snail’s pace. At 7-4, it appeared their season was over, too.
“That was tough, real tough,” Bison running back D.J. McNorton said this week. “I definitely don’t want to go through that again.”
The final score was 3-0, which set a Missouri Valley Football Conference record for lowest-scoring league game.
“Last year, we had everything in the world to play for and Missouri State had pride to play for and we were defeated,” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl. “It’s not the same scenario this year but comparable enough. We had a bad taste from last year and we have a lot of work to do.”
The comparable scenario is in the records. The Bison are bidding to become the first Missouri Valley team to go 6-0 overall since 2007 when Southern Illinois and Northern Iowa both did it.
MSU is 0-6, 0-3 in the league.
Of course, the Bison got a second life last year when losses by some key top 25 teams got NDSU what was generally considered the last invitation to the Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. On Saturday, the Bison will take a 5-0 record and a No. 5 ranking the FCS coaches poll against a team that is playing for pride.
Perhaps the Bears could make Saturday a Road Senior Day because head coach Terry Allen said the age of his players made a difference last year.
“We had a lot of kids that were seniors and it was their Senior Day,” he said. “They played very hard and very physical. They did a nice job of getting after it.”
Especially the Missouri State defense, which started 13 seniors on that November day including three linebackers and a defensive end who were instrumental in blanking the Bison.
“We were able to put pressure on the quarterback and create some turnovers,” Allen said. “That momentum thing carried out.”
Said NDSU defensive tackle Leevon Perry: “What a way to lose a game, 3-0 is probably the worst way to lose. But it’s a loss no matter how it goes.”
Kolpack is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.