Can Herd Achieve #10?
What a year it has been and it is at the pinnacle of where 9 out of the last 10 fall seasons have finished, playing for the National Championship (I don’t count the spring season). This year has a much different feel to it. In seasons past we were usually cruising into the Natty picking up a head of steam. This year it seems like we are sputtering and lurching towards the final game. Let me get to my bottom line point. I am not expecting a Bison win come Sunday. This is the first time in this FCS playoff run I am not expecting a Bison victory. Why this conclusion?
I think we have lost too many horses out of the barn. It seems that both Mostaert boys won’t be playing at DT and if that’s true or they are only in on a limited role basis, it brings back memories of the 2016 semi-final game versus JMU. Both Tanguay and Steidl (1st qtr injury) and NFL quality MLB Nick DeLuca were missing and JMU ran it down our throats to the tune of 201 yards (5 YPC). First game versus the Bunnies with no Eli or Wiz at LB, the Jacks pounded us for 207 yards (5.6 YPC). Losing Will at DT isn’t an improvement, when his replacement is a true 263 lb freshman with NO GAME EXPERIENCE.
For sure our best back, Luepke is out and it sounds like TaMerik Williams wasn’t practicing last week. If he wasn’t able to be integrated into whatever game plan was put in place, the Natty isn’t the best place to shake off the rust. Oh and by the way, SDSU is playing Code Green level run defense this year. They are #1 in rushing D only giving up 83 YPG and 2.7 YPC. Code Green’s numbers look like the Jack’s of yesteryear, 147.9 YPG and 4 YPC.
The Jack’s shut the Bobcat’s, who were leading the FCS with over 332 YPG rushing, to 52 yards. Folks, that’s domination. The Ram’s didn’t get the job done in the Marker game. We only rushed for 127 yards. The leading Bison rushers, Luepke (58 yards and 3.9 YPC) and Gonnella (28 yards and 8.3 YPC) aren’t in Frisco.
The leading receiver, D J Hart, hit the portal for UNI and it looks like WR and Kick Return leader, Raja Nelson is a no go. Folks, there is a limit to next man up and I feel the Bison have hit it.
Let’s play role reversal. If the Jack’s were down Isaiah Davis and Amar Johnson, would we be expecting a reduced run game? Of course we would. What if their All-American DT, Caleb Sanders was out along with their 2nd leading tackler at DT? Would that hurt their run defense? Of course it would. If these four were out, I would be looking for a 10 plus point Bison victory.
Nobody in college football sports history has ever been 9-0 in National Championship games. Streaks come to an end eventually. Often time it’s from off field and out of control issues. How did our 39 game win streak go down? Covid! The 2020 team would have beaten Oregon! We had the 3rd player taken in the draft at QB (don’t you think he would have progressed as a sophomore?), an OL that sported three NFL guys (Radunz, Volson and Mauch), two NFL quality TE’s in Gindorff and Babicz and a NFL rookie of the year quality WR, Christian Watson. What a loss to history this was.
Never has a Bison team been so decimated by key injuries and hurt by this new transfer portal stuff as this year’s squad. I am not down on this team, or the coaches or the program. I am not saying there is no way the Bison can’t win. I am analyzing the things at hand and it looks like the makings of how streaks end. The Jack’s are hitting stride and we’re wondering what wheel falls off next. By this time in the season I am not hoping for a Bison victory, I am expecting it based on the resume’ the team has brought into the final game. Right now, the Jacks have more horses in the barn. In spite of this, I still hope we make #10! Go Bison!