Instant Analysis: North Dakota St Rocks KSU

Posted Aug 31, 2013

North Dakota State has proven over and over again that it can beat FBS teams on the road. The Bison once again did the deed on Friday night in Manhattan, Kan.

By Matt Zemek
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There are two very simple stories to tell about North Dakota State's win over Kansas State on Friday night.

The first story is that the college football world underappreciated Collin Klein when he was still around. Sure, Klein was admired and acknowledged as a particularly good player, but it is not exactly a state secret that as soon as Johnny Manziel won at Alabama last November, the Heisman Trophy race had been decided. Klein's sensational season was quickly dismissed when compared against Manziel's star power and flair.

Please keep in mind that Klein produced a terrific 2011 season as well while Stanford's Andrew Luck was much more pedestrian. Yet, Luck got a ticket to New York City while Klein stayed at home. Klein was undervalued for two seasons, not just one. Perhaps now that Kansas State has lost at home to an FCS team in the first game of the post-Klein era, the quarterback who propelled the Wildcats to an unlikely Big 12 championship will receive a degree of respect not accorded to him when he donned school colors.

The second simple story of North Dakota State's win is that the Bison are an FCS team in label only. This is a team that has now beaten FBS teams four seasons in a row, with three of those wins coming from BCS conferences. The Bison are 7-3 against FBS teams since 2006. This is no fluke. This is no isolated incident. This is not the handiwork of a team that got lucky. NDSU beat the defending Big 12 champions on the road with an 18-play, 80-yard drive in the fourth quarter.

That's no fluke. That's the better team affirming its superiority.

By Russ Mitchell
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How much is a poised, star quarterback worth? Go ask Bill Snyder.

With Collin Klein out of eligibility and trying to figure out his next career move, Snyder finally settled on JUCO transfer Jake Waters to take Klein's place. Of the two quarterbacks on the field, Waters actually had the better night statistically, but the Wildcats offense never seemed in rhythm – particularly on third downs. Hold this thought...we'll come back to it.

At this point it should surprise nobody that NDSU can beat an FBS foe, having now done so in four consecutive years.

The Bisons are a legit team, with a winning tradition in the Missouri Valley Conference, and having won back to back FCS national championships. And as was discussed all week, its head coach Craig Bohl knows Snyder well from his many years as defensive coordinator for the then Big 12 Nebraska Cornhuskers.

But few outside of @hokiesmash – the PhD of all things Bison football – correctly forecast this one. Not just the win, but how it would happen – with a balanced attack on offense, a steady senior quarterback and a defense adept at stopping teams on third downs (on the night Kansas State was 2-10 on this stat).

Senior NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen did a masterful job of controlling the tempo of the game, and as a result the Bisons enjoyed a comfortable time of possession advantage.

Never was that poise more apparent than on the Bisons' last, and only, drive of the fourth quarter. An 18 play, 80 yard, soul-stealing march that included four third down conversions, 11 rushes for 27 yards, and seven passes – all of them completions and to six different receivers – for 53 yards.

But wait, you say. This is Manhattan. Scratch that - this is Bill Snyder! He's got a statue and a Family Center.

I'm afraid he's just another victim on NDSU's September Tour of FBS Pain, which now includes Kansas State along with Colorado State, Minnesota and Kansas. Next up for the Bisons? Iowa State to kickoff the 2014 season.

Hello Ames, Iowa. Something tells us head coach Paul Rhoads and his players aren't going to need a wakeup call for this one.

By Terry Johnson
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I am not sure that this game qualifies as an upset. After all, North Dakota State has won its last four contests against FBS competition, as well as the past two FCS championships. On the other side of the coin, Kansas State was breaking in ten new starters on defense, and had to replace all-world QB Collin Klein.

Regardless, the Bison deserve all the credit in the world for pulling this one off. Despite falling behind early in the second half, Craig Bohl and his staff stuck with the game plan. As a result, NDSU simply wore down an overmatched K-State defense over the final 20 minutes of the contest.

While this win solidifies North Dakota State's position as the favorite in the lower subdivision, it also validates my preseason prediction that the Wildcats are going to take a big step back this fall.

Make no mistake about it: tonight's loss really is a big deal for Kansas State, because it could mean the difference between qualifying for a bowl and staying home for the holidays. In the highly competitive Big 12 conference, there aren't any "gimmes" on the schedule, meaning that every team needs to win the games that they're supposed to win in order to go bowling.