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Excitement high for No. 1 Bison vs. No. 3 Penguins

FARGO -- As if tickets for the Youngstown State at North Dakota State football game weren't tough enough to come by when single game orders went on sale Aug. 1, they were many times harder to get on Oct. 1. Even the Bison head coach has an easy answer for that question.

"I'm out," said Craig Bohl.

The popular ticket website had nothing for the Bison-Penguins game. NDSU players, who each get four complimentary tickets to each game, were tweeting looking for more on Monday.

Moreover, the online ticket claiming site for NDSU students had issues on Monday. The student body is allocated 4,000 tickets in the 18,700-seat Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

"There have been some frustrated students," said NDSU ticket manager Josh Hemingway.

The reason? It's the No. 1-ranked team in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision against the No. 3-ranked team in NDSU's homecoming game.

The Bison retained their top ranking in The Sports Network and FCS Coaches polls after the 33-21 win at Northern Iowa on Saturday. Youngstown has made a fast track to top 10 status in the last two years and has the look of an FCS playoff-caliber team.

"It should be a classic matchup of these two really good programs," Bohl said.

Bohl said the Bison came through the Northern Iowa game relatively unscathed on the injury front, which he said is unique for that physical game. Youngstown will come to Fargo fresh after having a bye last week.

They are two of the three Missouri Valley Football Conference teams who own FCS national titles. NDSU won last year; Youngstown won four in the 1990s. Southern Illinois is the other league national champ, having won in 1983.

Since NDSU joined the Valley in 2008, each of its games with Youngstown has gone deep into the fourth quarter before being decided. The Penguins won 32-24 and 39-35 in 2008 and 2009.

The Bison won 34-29 in 2010 on a long touchdown pass with under a minute left. YSU won 27-24 last year at the dome. The road team has won each of the last three games.

"I think some of it is they're a program that has traditionally prided itself on being a real physical, hard-nosed, blue collar team and program that has enjoyed a national reputation," Bohl said. "We're a program that reclassified, but a lot of those same adjectives could apply to us as well. So it's been a great matchup."

Both also own wins over Division I Football Bowl Subdivision teams this year. Youngstown defeated the University of Pittsburgh 31-17 and NDSU defeated Colorado State 22-7. It's a game that Bohl admitted could have league title implications.

"Both of these teams have the makings to be two of the leaders," he said.