Northern Iowa @ North Dakota State, Oct. 29, 2011
by, 10-29-2011 at 02:38 PM (2860 Views)
FARGO, ND--I am in the Fargodome for today's game between two of the top three ranked teams in the polls. NDSU is ranked #2 in the latest Gridiron Index Poll (GPI) and Northern Iowa is ranked #3. Georgia Southern is ranked #1 currently but also has a big game this week against Appalachian State, the #6 ranked team in the GPI.
This game should be a defensive struggle if we go by the statistics so far. NDSU is the top ranked scoring defense and UNI is #2.
The two offenses have been productive when needed as well. The battle of quarterbacks is between the Panthers Tirrell Rennie, who has set a UNI record for consecutive pass attempts without an interception with 146. NDSU's Brock Jensen has thrown just one in his 149 attempts.
The top running backs are D.J. McNorton for NDSU and David Johnson for UNI with two good backups in Sam Ojuri and Carlos Anderson respectively.
The two lines I would say are equal both on the offensive and defensive sides.
On paper, these two teams couldn't be more evenly matched as seen with the statistics above.
I think the game will be decided by who gains more turnovers. Statistically, both are close in this category. UNI is a +13 and NDSU is a +11.
A other area might be who performs better on the special teams.
The home field for the Bison I think will also play a role. Standing room tickets are the only tickets open as of yesterday and believe most of those should be picked up. A crowd over 19,000 is expected and could rival the all-time attendance record today.
With that, I think the home field noise will cause some concerns for UNI and may result in some turnovers and some unforced fouls. As I stated in my column for the week, I think NDSU will pull out a close, low scoring game.
We shall see if this comes true or if UNI can overcome likely the most adverse crowd they have seen including the one point loss it had at FBS Iowa State.