NDSU heads to Vermillion with redemption on their mind

Photo Courtesy: NDSU Athletics
Photo Courtesy: NDSU Athletics

North Dakota State football will take on #3 South Dakota in the quarterfinal round of the FCS Playoffs.

NDSU has been looking forward to this rematch since September 30th when then-unranked USD shocked the #2 ranked Bison 24-19. People didn't know if the 'Yotes were for real at that point but they turned out to be very real as South Dakota finished the season 9-2 and received the #3 seed in the 24-team bracket. In the 2nd round, the Coyotes started fast and finished strong as they defeated the Sacramento State Hornets 34-24 to advance. NDSU on the other hand was the lone road team to win in the 2nd round as the Bison went to Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman, Montana, and ended the Bobcats 26 game home winning streak by blocking the game-tying extra point in overtime to give North Dakota State a 35-34 overtime win.

In the September 30th upset NDSU fell behind the Coyotes 21-3 as the Bison couldn't get USD off the field on 3rd down as they attacked the perimeter of the field with bubble screens to Carter Bell and tough runs from Travis Theis. The 2nd half was a different story as South Dakota allowed NDSU to hang around as the Bison drew within eight as "Code Green" was able to hold the USD offense to three points but that one field goal was enough to spring the upset. 

For NDSU to be successful on offense it depends on how many safeties are deep for the Coyotes as if they are in two high expect alot of QB run game as one less defender in the box allows for more room for Cam Miller and Cole Payton. If its one high safety that means alot more of the traditional running game from TaMerik Williams and TK Marshall. That also may open up the passing game for Cam Miller to find his favorite targets in Eli Green and Zach Mathis.

On defense, NDSU must be sound when it comes to coverage and tackling as NDSU is the worst tackling team among the final eight teams. They must be able to contain the RPO game as USD exclusively used that and perimeter screens to take advantage of NDSU defense. If NDSU can contain the inside runs of Travis Theis, the screen game with Carter Bell, and make Aidan Bouman beat them with his feet and not his arm, NDSU will be in a good spot.

Round 2 between the Bison and Coyotes at the DakotaDome can be seen on WDAY/ABC at 1:30 PM.