No 1. NDSU vs. Missouri State Preview
Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 15:10
If any team has given the Bison football team frustrations in recent memory, it’s the Missouri State Bears.
No. 1 NDSU (5-0, 2-0 Missouri Valley Football Conference) will host conference-opponent MSU at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Fargodome. Though the Bears haven’t beat the Bison of late, that doesn’t mean the unpredictable Bears squad isn’t a team to be reckoned with.
“Our next opponent has given us fits for the last several years,” NDSU head coach Craig Bohl said. “We’ve had some great, close games with them.”
One of the biggest problems for Bohl and the rest of the offensive coaching staff has been managing a 3-4 defense. Despite the Bison being tough, yet savvy up front, NDSU will still need to make various adjustments for the different style of defense.
“We’ve always had a hard time, with our offensive scheme, with a 3-4,” Bohl said. “They’ve got some strong, physical guys inside and we’ve had difficult times getting movement on them. That takes us out of a lot of our game offensively.”
The differences of style may be the reason MSU gives the Bison headaches. Bohl said the distinctions should make for a good battle.
“Missouri State matches up well schematically with us,” he said. “We’re anticipating a real good game this Saturday.”
Even though the Bears (1-5, 1-1 MVFC) aren’t above the .500 mark this season, Bohl said they are still a team to watch out for. On offense, MSU likes to spread the field out—also outside the comfort zone of the 4-3 Bison defense.
“Offensively it’s a flip-side,” Bohl said. “Some of our advantage with our strength and our size are neutralized because they spread the field out. They’ve got athletic guys.”
One bright side for NDSU will be having a healthy team this Saturday.
While going into their 24-23 win over the University of Northern Iowa last weekend with various injuries, Bohl is thrilled to come out of the game and now have the starting lineup intact.
“After watching the (UNI) game, it was a physical and violent football game,” Bohl said. “There were bodies flying around everywhere.”
Though the comeback win against UNI was impressive to most, Bohl knows his team will need to do much better in the first 30 minutes this time around.
“I think it’s important for us to stay on task,” he said. “Last year, we played really well against Missouri State, particularly in the first half. We just didn’t capitalize on the production our defense had. So we’ll be looking to be more productive in the first half.”
However, Bohl is more worried about the execution of his team. The Bison committed a few costly turnovers against UNI which easily could have sealed the game for the other team last weekend.
In spite of it all though, the Bison are satisfied with the way they’re winning.
“We’re just glad we’re winning football games,” Bohl said. “(Turnovers) certainly aren’t things that we want to do. … That’s more of a concern than getting behind, we’ve just got to execute better.”