South Dakota State Preview: #3 Jackrabbits at #1 North Dakota State
College football will provide us with some impressive top ten clashes this weekend when #4 Ohio State plays at #9 Penn State and #7 Stanford travels to #8 Notre Dame.
This is the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams, the 108th meeting overall, dating back to 1903.
The 2018 meeting will feature two top ten offenses in scoring and rushing and a pair of top ten defenses in yards and points allowed.
The Bison (3-0) will be playing at home for the fourth straight game to start the season. They have outscored opponents 125-20, mainly on the strength of a running game that is averaging nearly 300 yards a game.
Running back Bruce Anderson is averaging more than eight yards a carry, while quarterback Easton Stick is a dual threat, passing for 163 yards a game, while running for better than 30.
The Bison have a deep threat at wide receiver. Senior Dallas Freeman averages 29 yards every time he touches the ball.
NDSU's offensive line is not just opening big holes for the running game, but also protecting Stick who has yet to be sacked in 2018.
Defensively, the Bison have been bringing the pressure this season with 12 sacks already in three games. Tackle Cole Karcz leads the way with three, end Greg Menard has two.
NDSU's defense has forced seven turnovers with linebacker Jabril Cox leading the way with two interceptions.
Overall, the Bison are allowing less than 190 yards per game in total offense.
On special teams, Darrius Shepherd is in the top five in FCS in punt returns, averaging 18 yards a return.
NDSU played last week, SDSU did not. The Jacks' starters have yet to play a full game this season, losing a game at Iowa State to the weather and then going to the bench early in blowout wins against Montana State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
I talked with Jackrabbits head coach John Stiegelmeier about the match-up with the Bison: