This isn’t meant to be a score predictor or prep you for Las Vegas betting ventures, but to inform you of the comparative strengths between the two teams as they prepare to face off this Saturday, November 10th. The Bison have won 106 out of their last 114 games (93%), so they don’t lose very often as of late. When they have, most have come as surprises in closely contested games. Who would have picked Indiana State in the Dome back in 2012? But two pick-sixes and another one thrown into our end zone (nullifying what would have been the winning points) and SU came out on the short end of a 17-14 loss. Two years later, who would have picked USD? Carson breaks his wrist, and a 21-0 lead turns into a 24-21 loss. Humility going into a game is a must for players and fans alike.
So, what is the outlook for Bison fans this week? A very strong probability of another convincing Bison win.
Here is what I am basing this projection on:
• Mo. State is the worst defensive Team in the MVFC. It is giving up 481.1 YPG. This ranks 109th in the FCS (out of 124 teams). When you factor out their game against Division II Lincoln Mo., they have given up just over 500 YPG to their Division I opponents.
• They have the worst run defense in the league: 105th in the FCS Giving up 227.8 YPG
• They are also bad at pass defense, giving up 253.3 YPG. This is 102nd in the FCS. They even gave up 205 yards passing to Lincoln.
• Wait, they don’t give up the most points in the league. USD gives up 35 PPG, Mo. State is really stingy at 34.6 PPG.
• They are horrific in turning the ball over. They lead the league in turnovers at 23 (8 fumbles and 15 interceptions). When factoring in their takeaways (10), they have a dismal -13 turnover ratio. That’s the equivalent of their opponents getting 13 extra offensive possessions.
• On the offensive side of the ball, they are average in all phases. Total Offense (71st at 373.9 YPG), rushing offense (77th at 142.8 YPG), passing offense (52nd at 231.1 YPG), and scoring (69th with 27.3 PPG). The mean average for these four categories is 67 (out of 124 FCS teams). Yes, very average indeed.
• Sagarin gives NDSU a 98% chance of winning this game and a 29.67 point advantage. Las Vegas has the Bison as a 31-point favorite.
In summary, the Bison should be able to run the ball effectively (over 300 yards). When Mo. State stacks 8 and 9 in the box on defense to stop the run, expect the passing game to explode. I think Easton Stick might go over 300 yards and at minimum, he will have his best game year-to-date. The defense should pick up 2 to 3 turnovers and get 3 to 5 sacks. This should not be a four-quarter game. If it is, the Bison have played down to their opponent.