I think one of the more puzzling things about the North Dakota State University Bison football team has been their struggle with the Missouri State University Bears since NDSU joined the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
The Bison have a 3-2 recorded against the Bears since starting the series back in 2008. In the time span, MSU has only once had an overall record above .500. This year seems to be more of the same for the Bears, as they come into Saturday’s matchup at 1-5 on the year.
The game that sticks out the most in this series is a 3-0 loss by the Bison down in Springfield, MO. That loss happened in 2010 in what was essentially a playoff game for the Bison. In that game, the Bears held NDSU to 120 yards of total offense.
Two year later, NDSU barely escaped Springfield with a victory. They beat the Bears 21-17, surviving quarterback Brock Jensen’s second three interception game of the season. You would think a team that has been as bad as Missouri State wouldn’t give NDSU fits.
NDSU head coach Craig Bohl said he believes the defensive scheme they use, a 3-4, is part of the problem NDSU has with them from an offensive standpoint. However, his best quote came when describing their offense and how wide open they play.
“Because of that style of play, things can go really good for them or it can go really bad.”
Another reason I see is the dual threat at quarterback in Kierra Harris. The junior QB has seven rushing touchdowns this year to go along with his four through the air. This causes issues for the linebackers since they don’t know when he will run or pass.
All these factors lead me to believe this is your classic “trap game” for NDSU. Team they have had issues with in the past, homecoming, just beat probably the best team they will face all year until December and Brock Jensen hasn’t looked particularly good throwing the ball the past couple games.
I’m not saying NDSU is going to lose this game but I am saying don’t expect this one to be over by halftime. I believe the Bears will be in this one for a majority of the game before the running attack of the Bison buries them.
You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.