NDSU at Indiana State Preview
Bison look to avenge last year’s only loss
Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 16:10
The only blemish on the NDSU football team’s national championship record last year was a 17-14 loss to Indiana in the Fargodome.
NDSU will get its chance at revenge when they travel to Terre Haute, Ind., to play the Sycamores Saturday at 2 p.m.
Even though ISU currently sits at 1-6 overall and 0-3 in the Missouri Valley Football conference, the Sycamores pose a dangerous challenge for the Bison.
“Our guys are very aware of the talent level and how competitive the Valley is,” NDSU head coach Craig Bohl said. “I think our players recognize that this is the team that defeated us last year. And so more than a revenge factor, I think it’s an eye-opening deal that these guys didn’t go to the playoffs, yet they were very good and they beat us at home.”
The Sycamores will be without back-to-back All-American running back Shakir Bell. Bell was dismissed from the team Tuesday afternoon. Bell rushed for 96 yards in the win over NDSU.
But Bell hadn’t seen his usual success so far this season due to a collarbone injury suffered early in the year. He only scored one touchdown on the ground while rushing for 420 yards on 78 carries.
The probable starter in Bell’s place will be junior Buck Logan. Logan has rushed for 276 yards on 41 carries for no touchdowns.
An undesirable quarterback position has also left the Sycamores struggling. Rob Tonyan Jr. made his first career start last week in a 55-14 loss to Illinois State. Tonyan Jr. only completed 8-of-22 passes for 69 yards in his replacement of usual starter Mike Perish.
While the struggles are evident in the win-loss column, ISU has remained competitive this season. The Sycamores lost to Big 10 opponent Purdue 20-14 and have had two games decided by three points or less.
“When I looked at the record I went, ‘what the heck?’” Bohl said. “They were a team that was vying for playoffs and beat us last year. They had two pick-sixes, but they forced those turnovers. And we couldn’t tackle Shakir Bell. I mean he could still be running today. Every year is a new year but some of their losses have been close.”
The Bison will need to hit the road for the second straight week to hold off the dangerous ISU team. But the road has been kind to the Bison. The only two losses in the last two years have been in the Fargodome, including last year’s loss to Indiana State.
“Our guys have been really good as far as being in a routine,” Bohl said. “They’ve played well on the road. The fact that we’re going on the road two times in a row, we try to minimize (changing the routine) as much as what we can.”
The loss to ISU last year was the only burden on an otherwise perfect year for NDSU. The Bison are sitting at 7-0 and 4-0 in the conference. To keep the tally out of the loss column in the competitive Missouri Valley, the Bison are using the game-by-game mentality.
“Our main focus right now is Indiana State,” Bohl said. “Make no mistake, I think our players and coaches recognize let’s get this win and catch our breath.”