At this point in the season, I am no longer surprised by the North Dakota State University football team. Last week was suppose to be the week that the Bison were at their most susceptible to a loss and all they did was dominate the high powered offense of Coastal Carolina University to the tune of 48-14.
CCU was supposed to be this dynamic offense, coming in to take on a team with their thoughts elsewhere and show a crack in the armor of the machine that is Bison football. In the end, the game reconfirmed what seemingly everybody else knew that NDSU is on some other level that the rest of the FCS football world cannot reach.
Now, this week it is the University of New Hampshire that could be NDSU’s newest threat. The Wildcats are hot, winning six straight, including beating archrival Maine twice in three weeks. They play in the Colonial Athletic Association, arguably the toughest conference in the FCS.
It is hard to argue with that take this season when two of the three teams they put into the playoffs are now in the Semi-Finals. The other one, Towson, has the best running back in the country in Terrance West, who has run for 430 yards and eight touchdowns in two playoff games this season.
The Wildcats have a balanced offensive attack, a quarterback playing well right now and a couple wide receivers that should scare you. The defense is not the best but they are playing well. Stop there if you have heard all of that before.
I am not here to carry NDSU’s water but my goodness. At some point you just give up on trying to say what might throw NDSU off. Senior quarterback Brock Jensen said it perfectly last week after the win over the Chanticleers.
“The world would have to come to an end to distract this team.”
We have asked this team at the beginning of the season if overconfidence was going to be an issue. They then went out and beat Kansas State University in Manhattan, KS. So, overconfidence is not an issue.
The team loses Grant Olson, the senior linebacker and heart and soul of the team and all they’ve done since then is allow 38 points in four games, along with shutting out the University of South Dakota. They have managed just fine without Olson.
After last week, it was “this team is too distracted” to play as well as they have this season. They will get challenged. They will struggle. Even knowing that your head coach will not be there next season didn’t rattle this team.
The only thing that could get me to believe NDSU will struggle this week is if New Hampshire all of the sudden starts running the triple option and puts Eric Breitenstein at fullback and Jerick McKinnon at quarterback.
No offense to New Hampshire, they have had a great season, but beating this Bison team may take a herculean effort. And even then, you still might be on the outside looking in.
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.