« NDSU Bison

Thoughts On North Dakota State University's 28-10 Victory Over Illinois State University

by Dan Gunderson

Pre-Game

· Cold out. Plus, really windy. Glad I stayed indoors as much as possible this morning.

· Not a lot of students in the crowd today. Combination of the deer opener and a long weekend. Plus, Illinois State not a big head liner.

First Quarter

· Illinois State kickoffs and John Crockett has huge return for NDSU. Two refs and a Bison player went down on the return. Beck was the player down on the play but was able to walk off under his own power.

· The question I have is why have Travis Beck on kickoff return? Weird to me.

· Bison run three offensive plays after the long kickoff return and score on a 27-yard TD pass to Zach Vraa.

· That was Vraa’s ninth TD reception of the season. Ryan Smith and Vraa combined for a total of seven last season.

· Of NDSU’s first seven plays, five of them were passes. Well, one of those plays was intended to be a pass but Jensen was sacked on it.

· NDSU also ran the hurry up in the second offensive series.

· NDSU comes up with a turnover, scores on the drive when Brock Jensen pulls his best Tim Tebow jump pass for a touchdown. Kevin Vaadeland on the receiving end.

· Not sure if that play was designed or not. It looked like Jensen was going to be stopped short on a third down run but saw Vaadeland sneak out and threw it to him.

· All over, an odd play that worked and NDSU is cruising at this point, 14-0 over the Redbirds.

· On a third down pass play for ISU, Marcus Williams came up a little lame on his right ankle it appeared. Limped to the sidelines.

· Travis Beck came off the field again with what appeared to be a bad shoulder. That thing has to kill.

Second Quarter

· Redbirds took a couple plays to score but they were able to punch it in on a two-yard run by Marshaun Coprich.

· This is starting to bother me. On a more than a few pass plays, Jensen just locks on to his primary target, usually Vraa. It has not hurt him yet because he is not playing against a good secondary but he needs to go through his progressions. He has had some wide open receivers on more than a few plays.

· Vraa with 10:35 to go in the game catches second TD of game and now has over 100 yards receiving for fourth time this season.

· It appears Williams is done for the game. He has an ice pack wrapped around his right knee, not ankle as I first thought. With 8:55 to go in the half and NDSU up 21-7, I would assume you don’t want to bring him back in.

· This quarter was really boring. Considering how exciting the beginning of this game was, the third quarter was more on par for a Bison game.

· At the half, NDSU is up 21-7. Game is still not out of reach for the Redbirds but they need to find some consistency on offense. One big play, a 33-yard run by Cameron Hunt and that is about it.

· Crockett having a better game. I say you stick with the hot hand. Haven’t heard from Ojuri today.

Third Quarter

· NDSU middle linebacker Grant Olson was injured on the first drive of the half. He had to be helped off the field. If there are a handful of players that NDSU cannot lose, Olson is probably at the top. Guy is heart and soul of the defense and perhaps the entire team.

· Christian Dudzik makes an unwise decision and tries to grab a punt rolling on the ground. Muffs it, Illinois State recovers.

· Redbirds stopped short of the end zone and are relegated to a field goal. Another big stand by the NDSU defense after a special team’s turnover. Did it twice against UNI.

·  From Twitter it sounds like the Olson situation are bad. On crutches, players consoling him. According to one report, AD Gene Taylor went over to Olson, put his arms around him but just stared straight at the ground.

· Despite all this sadness that is permeating the Fargodome right now, you have to remember, Olson is a guy who played last year when he should have had his appendix removed. Just a thought.

· Umpire Ed Beavers threw a unsportsmanlike penalty against ISU’s Tim Wright. The reason I am putting this in here is because Beavers had been very close to throwing his flag against several ISU players throughout the quarter. Finally, his patience gave.

· Third quarter ends with just three points coming. Both teams trading blows. NDSU up 21-10, down Grand Olson, Marcus Williams and Ryan Smith has yet to see the field. Feeling right now is that there is some sort of candlelight vigil outside for Olson.

Fourth Quarter

· Nothing like a boring quarter of football. Most of the fans are slowly trickling towards the exit. First quarter provided so much action and now here this is.

· This whole second half, heck three quarters, have been just yawn worthy. I honestly have nothing to say. Boring football game.

· Hunting opener has to be the worst thing for schools in the Red River Valley.

· I agree and disagree with Mike McFeely on one point. Yes, this game had no energy to begin with. NDSU jumped out to quick lead and fans thought, “Good. We will win.” But there was a definite shift in atmosphere once Olson went down.

· This one ends with NDSU taking the victory over Illinois State 28-10. NDSU moves on to 9-0 overall and 6-0 in the MVFC. Next up: Youngstown State. Winner of that game will win the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

End of Game

· John Crockett goes for 104 yards rushing and one touchdown.

· Zach Vraa had 109 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

· Brock Jensen threw for 198 yards and three touchdowns.

· At the press conference, head coach Craig Bohl indicated that the injury to Grant Olson was as serious as expected. He also said that Marcus Williams twisted his knee. More will be found out tomorrow.

· Looking at the stats, defense dominated, offense was as expected after first half and Bison won. It seemed ugly since there was a) no one there and b) injuries to star players. However, NDSU played typical dominating defense yet again.

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.