Players say Bison, Wildcats present similar looks
The Championship Subdivision semifinal playoff game between
North Dakota State and New Hampshire will be the first meeting
between the schools.
Players on both sides say they have a lot in common.
The Bison (13-0) are seeking their third straight FCS title. The
Wildcats (10-4) are making their first appearance in the FCS
The winner will face either Towson or Eastern Washington in the
FCS championship Jan. 4 in Frisco, Texas.
NDSU offensive lineman Billy Turner and New Hampshire defensive
back Manny Asam used the same words earlier this week to describe
the other team, such as disciplined, physical and well-coached.
Both teams pursue the ball and ”play through the whistle,” Turner
”They’re kind of like us with the mindset that they come out,
they play hard and they try to get the job done,” Turner said.
Said Asam: ”It’s going to be a battle because we kind of rely
on the same kind of elements to make us successful.”
Those elements include stingy defense – NDSU is No. 1 in FCS in
fewest points allowed per game and New Hampshire is No. 14 – and
offenses that are effective, if not flashy.
The teams have been known to grind down their opponents,
especially the Bison. NDSU has held 12 of its 13 opponents
scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Something will have to give on Friday night, Bison offensive
lineman Zack Johnson said.
”We’re going to still try to wear them down, but from I’ve
seen, they don’t get worn down very easily,” Johnson said.
The All-American Turner, who earlier this week was invited to
the Senior Bowl, said New Hampshire will be the best team NDSU has
faced in this year’s playoffs.
He said the Wildcats go about their business quietly, unlike
NDSU’s opponents in the first two rounds.
”Coastal Carolina came in here and everyone was talking about
their offense,” Turner said. ”Furman was coming in here just
talking about, you know, they beat Georgia Southern, they beat
Wofford, they were going to get payback for their conference and
”Each team had something different to say, but I haven’t heard
anything out of New Hampshire yet,” he said.
The Wildcats advanced with wins over Lafayette, Maine and
Southeastern Louisiana. This will be their third straight game on
the road. NDSU hasn’t left town for a month.
The Bison are 9-0 overall at home in the FCS playoffs and have
won 10 straight home postseason games dating back to a 1992 victory
in the Division II tournament. NDSU’s 22-game winning streak is the
longest in Division I, ahead of 15 in a row by Florida State.
The ESPN-driven game day schedule for NDSU will be drastically
different from last week, when players met at 7:15 a.m. for the
pre-game meal in advance of an 11 a.m. kickoff. Friday’s game at
the Fargodome is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
”Friday night lights … this brings me back to the high school
days,” Bison All-American defensive back Marcus Williams said.
”There’s nothing better than playing under those lights in front
of that crowd.”
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