Bison up next for Penguins


Another top-10

game for Penguins

By Brian Dzenis

bdzenis@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

As Youngstown State reaches the apex of its schedule, North Dakota State is just ramping up its slate.

Tonight at Stambaugh Stadium, the No. 8 Penguins (3-2) end its stretch of three consecutive contests against top-10 opponents against the No. 2 Bison (5-0).

So far, NDSU has played just one top-25 opponent this season, a 40-13 win against No. 10 Eastern Washington, but five of the Bison’s remaining six contests are against ranked teams. The resume the Bison have put in is still pretty impressive with the Missouri Valley Football Conference’s best rushing attack and the nation’s best defense.

“They have talent, but they have a system that they believe in. They stick with it,” Penguins coach Bo Pelini said. “What goes with that is a high level of execution. I think their players play with confidence and they play fast. They have all the makings of what I believe is a good football team.”

RUSHING DUEL

The MVFC’s top backs go ahead in the Bison’s Lance Dunne and the Penguins Tevin McCaster. The two are close in rushing yards at 566 and 536, respectively, but that’s where the similarities stop. Dunne has 13 total touchhdowns to McCaster’s eight, leading all of Football Championship Subdivision. He did this on half as many carries as his YSU counterpart with 55 — averaging 10.3 yards a carry.

“It’s a different type of offense than what we’ve faced the last two weeks,” Pelini said. “Dunne is a really good player and their offensive line has good players.”

The Penguins get a break from dual-threat quarterbacks tonight, but the Bison’s Easton Stick is no stiff.

Stick leads FCS in completion percentage at 73.8 percent with 800 passing yards and 10 TDs with no picks. He also has experience beating the Penguins, starting the last two Bison games against the Penguins, winning both matchups

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL

The Bison have the FCS’ best defense, conceding three touchdowns, three field goals and 795 yards of offense.

A large part of that is a secondary that has intercepted 11 passes and gives up less than 100 passing yards a game. Converted quarterback James Hendricks has four picks at safety and Tre Dempsey and Robbie Grimsley each have three.

NDSU is pretty stingy up front as well, sporting the conference’s second-best run defense at 64.8 yards per game.

SPECIAL GUESTS

Satirical sports media outlet Barstool Sports is making its second appearance in Youngstown today.

Barstool founder Dave “El Presidente” Portnoy, former Indianapolis Colts punter and Plum, Pa., native Pat McAfee and Julie Stewart-Binks will at Cassese’s MVR to host “Barstool Tailgate.” Their tailgate party begins at 5:30 p.m.

Portnoy picked YSU over the University of Minnesota after conducting a twitter poll. He picked the Penguins’ game even after Minnesota won the poll by a narrow margin.

Barstool personalities Dan “Big Cat” Katz and PFT Commenter visited the MVR in June for the Cardinal Mooney Annual Bocce Social.

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