THIS WEEK: No. 1-ranked North Dakota State (1-0, 0-0 MVFC) kicks off the long-awaited Missouri Valley Football Conference spring schedule this Sunday, Feb. 21, against Youngstown State (0-0). Game time is 2:30 p.m. at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. The game is being played Sunday due to the North Dakota high school wrestling state championships in the Fargodome on Saturday.
TELEVISION: Statewide coverage on the NBC North Dakota network begins at 1:30 p.m. ESPN+ will carry the game beginning at 2:30 p.m. ESPN+ is available by subscription on ESPN.com and the ESPN app.
RADIO: Coverage begins at 2 p.m. on the Peterson Farms Seed Bison Radio Network including 107.9 The Fox in Fargo. Extended coverage locally on Bison 1660 and 92.7 FM includes “Bison Tailgate” from 11:00-12:00, “Bison Game Day” from 12:00-2:00 and the “Bison Hotline” call-in show following the network broadcast.
ONLINE: NDSU All Access offers free audio streaming of all NDSU football games as well as live video of Bison home games to subscribers on GoBison.com/allaccess and the NDSU Athletics mobile app. Live stats for NDSU home games are available on BisonStats.com. Follow along with in-game updates on Twitter @NDSUfootball.
ATTENDANCE: Seating for this week’s game is limited to 50 percent capacity up to 9,500 spectators. Any available single-game tickets for NDSU home games will go on sale to the public this Wednesday, Feb. 17, at GoBison.com/tickets and the Bison Ticket Office.
PARKING AND STADIUM ENTRANCE: On game day, parking lots will open at noon and stadium doors open at 12:30 p.m. Tailgating will not be allowed while stadium capacity is less than 100 percent. Parking will be $5 per spot and there will be no recreational vehicles, buses or trailers allowed in the parking lots. Those with game tickets in Sections 1-6 or Sections 24-34 should park on the east side of the Fargodome in lots B or C and enter through the north and east entrances. Those with game tickets in Sections 7-23 should park on the west side of the Fargodome in lots E, F or G and enter through the south and west entrances.
MASKS REQUIRED: Masks will be required upon entering the Fargodome and must be worn throughout the duration of the game. For those that do not have a mask, one will be provided. Failure to follow the directions of event personnel or failure to wear a mask (when not eating or drinking) could result in ticket revocation and the loss of ticket privileges in the future.
NEW DIGITAL PROGRAMS: A new digital game day program will be available to fans free of charge through GoBison.com/publications and the NDSU Athletics mobile app available for download in the Apple App Store and Google Play. A free roster card presented by Gate City Bank will be available for pickup on the concourse.
THE SERIES: This is the 15th meeting between North Dakota State and Youngstown State. NDSU has won eight in a row to take a 10-4 lead in the all-time series dating back to 1972. YSU is 2-4 in the Fargodome with both wins coming by a combined seven points in 2009 and 2011.
THE LAST MEETING: North Dakota State scored six first-half touchdowns and dealt Youngstown State its worst home loss in program history 56-17 in the teams’ last meeting Nov. 2, 2019. Trey Lance rushed for a 9-yard touchdown and passed for three scores while going 7 of 9 for 160 yards. Wide receiver Christian Watson caught a 69-yard TD pass, tight end Josh Babicz caught two TD passes each for 6 yards, Kobe Johnson scored on a 75-yard rush and 94-yard kickoff return, and Dimitri Williams rushed for two scores. Linebackers Jabril Cox and Aaron Mercadel had seven tackles apiece to lead the NDSU defense. Eight different NDSU players had tackles for loss.
EIGHT STRAIGHT WEEKS: Schedules are subject to change, but this Sunday is the first of eight straight conference games scheduled for both teams with a bye or makeup week scheduled April 17 before the 16-team NCAA Division I Football Championship begins April 24.
BISON FAVORED TO WIN: North Dakota State was picked to win its 10th straight Missouri Valley Football Conference title in a preseason poll of the league’s head coaches. One point separated Northern Iowa and South Dakota State for second and third place, respectively. Illinois State was fourth and Southern Illinois fifth followed by South Dakota, North Dakota and Youngstown State with Missouri State and Western Illinois tying for the ninth and final spot.
EIGHT ON PRESEASON MVFC TEAM: NDSU has a league-best eight first-team picks on the preseason All-Missouri Valley Football Conference team including fullback Hunter Luepke, wide receiver Christian Watson, offensive lineman Cordell Volson, long snapper Ross Kennelly, defensive lineman Spencer Waege, linebacker Jackson Hankey, cornerback Josh Hayes and safety Michael Tutsie. Tight end Josh Babicz earned honorable mention.
FOUR PRESEASON ALL-AMERICANS: North Dakota State offensive lineman Cordell Volson and safety Michael Tutsie were named to the HERO Sports spring preseason All-America team. Volson and wide receiver Christian Watson were named to the Athlon Sports spring preseason All-America team. Prior to the fall season, Volson and linebacker Jackson Hankey were named to the Stats Perform FCS preseason All-America second team and Tutsie was third team.
16-TIME NATIONAL CHAMPIONS: North Dakota State has won 16 football national championships. NDSU claimed three College Division national championships in 1965, 1968 and 1969 via the national polls, five Division II playoff titles in 1983, 1985, 1986, 1988 and 1990, and was the first team in college football history to win five straight national titles with FCS crowns in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 before winning again in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
NINE STRAIGHT TITLES: North Dakota State in 2019 won its ninth straight Missouri Valley Football Conference championship and fifth outright crown including 2012, 2013, 2017 and 2018. North Dakota State has won 36 football conference championships including 26 in the North Central Conference (last in 1994) and one in the Great West Football Conference (2006).
Most Consecutive Conference Titles in Division I Football
14 – Oklahoma (Big 8, 1946-59)
12 – Montana (Big Sky, 1998-09)
10 – BYU (WAC, 1976-85)
9 – Florida State (ACC, 1992-00)
9 – North Dakota State (MVFC, 2011-19)
FIRST 16-GAME WINNERS: Last year’s 16-0 North Dakota State team was the sixth to go undefeated and untied in winning the FCS championship joining Eastern Kentucky in 1982 (13-0), Georgia Southern in 1989 (15-0), Marshall in 1996 (15-0) and NDSU in 2013 (15-0). The Bison were the first modern-era college football team in any division to finish a season 16-0. The only other 16-0 team was at Yale in 1894. NDSU has played one other 16-game season. The Bison won the 2014 national title with a 15-1 record.
UNBEATEN SEASONS: Twelve teams have gone unbeaten in Missouri Valley Football Conference games since 1985, and only North Dakota State (2013, 2018, 2019) and Southern Illinois (2009) have done it through an eight-game conference schedule. There have been 16 undefeated NDSU teams since 1894 including the 2019 national champions (16-0).
UNDEFEATED FIRST-YEAR HEAD COACHES: North Dakota State’s Matt Entz last year became the first Division I head football coach to win all 16 games in his first season at the helm. Among other notable winning streaks for first-time head coaches, Walter Camp won his first 28 games at Yale in 1888 and 1889, Larry Coker won his first 24 games at Miami (Fla.) in 2001 and 2002, and current Ohio State coach Ryan Day had a 16-game winning streak snapped in the 2019 Playstation Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson.
Undefeated, Untied First-Year Head Football Coaches (Division I, minimum 10 games)
16-0, Matt Entz, North Dakota State, 2019
15-0, Bob Pruett, Marshall, 1996 (FCS champions)
13-0, Walter Camp, Yale, 1888
13-0, Chris Petersen, Boise State, 2006
12-0, Larry Coker, Miami (Fla.), 2001
11-0, Bill Thomas, Tennessee State, 1984
10-0, Joe Susan, Davidson, 2000
10-0, Ed Zubrow, Penn, 1986
BISON ON 38-GAME WINNING STREAK: North Dakota State’s current 38-game winning streak is the third longest in Division I history and the longest in FCS history surpassing the record 33-game Bison winning streak from 2012-14.
Longest Division I Football Winning Streaks
38—North Dakota State, 2017-present
34—Miami (Fla.), 2000-03
33—North Dakota State, 2012-14
HOME STREAK AT 29 GAMES: North Dakota State is on a school-record 29-game home winning streak, which is tied for sixth longest in FCS history. It is the longest active home winning streak in Division I and a new Missouri Valley Football Conference record, topping NDSU’s 26-game home winning streak from 2012-15. The Bison had a 36-game home unbeaten streak 1964-71 including a 1970 season-opening tie with Eastern Michigan. NDSU has won 69 of the last 71 home games over non-conference opponents with its last home loss coming in the 2016 semifinals to James Madison. NDSU is 27-4 at home all-time against FCS Top 10 teams.
NDSU Longest Home Winning Streaks
29—Started 9/2/2017 vs. Mississippi Valley State
28—Started 9/12/1964 vs. Minn. St. Moorhead, ended 9/12/1970 by Eastern Michigan (T, 14-14)
26—Started 10/27/2012 vs. Southern Illinois, ended 10/17/2015 by South Dakota (L, 24-21)
COORDINATORS NAMED TO 35 UNDER 35: North Dakota State offensive coordinator Tyler Roehl and defensive coordinator David Braun were selected to the 2020 class of the American Football Coaches Association’s 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute, a prestigious program aimed at identifying and developing premier, future leaders in the football coaching profession. Selected participants are invited to attend the one-day institute that features a curriculum of interactive lectures focused on topics specifically tailored to emphasize leadership in the coaching profession, ethics, influential responsibilities, career progression, and family balance.
WEGNER ON WATCH LIST: North Dakota State’s Garret Wegner is one of 22 punters on the preseason watch list for the 2020 FCS Punter of the Year Award. Created in 2019, the award honors the nation’s top collegiate punter in the Football Championship Subdivision. Wegner, a senior from Lodi, Wis., averaged 40.5 yards on 53 punts last season and had nine punts of 50-plus yards. He ranked second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with 22 fair catches. Wegner was a third team FCS All-America selection by Stats Perform and The Associated Press as a sophomore in 2018.
SUCCESS VS. THE FBS: NDSU has a 9-3 record against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents and has won six in a row against FBS foes since 2010 with wins at Kansas (6-3), Minnesota (37-24), Colorado State (22-7), Kansas State (24-21), Iowa State (34-14) and 11th-ranked Iowa (23-21). NDSU has two future FBS games against Arizona in 2022 and Colorado in 2024. NDSU’s first three FBS wins were against Ball State (2006), Central Michigan (2007) and Minnesota (2007).