North Dakota State @ Illinois State, 2012
by, 11-17-2012 at 12:39 PM (2735 Views)
NORMAL, Ill--I am in Normal today with this matchup that will decide the Missouri Valley Football Conference autobid. Hancock Stadium is going through a renovation where the east side of the field is completely empty with cement starting to be poured for the foundation of the new side seating. Capacity this year is just 7,700 with seating just on the west and south sides of the field that runs north to south.
It is the winner take all in this match-up with the winner likely getting a seed in the playoffs. NDSU being ranked #1 right now in the GPI and Illinois State ranked #6.
Both of these teams should see their name come up in the 20-field playoff announcement tomorrow but this game will mean a lot for home field advantage. Although if South Dakota State wins today, there would be a three way tie and NDSU would get the Autobid given the three way tie.
NDSU comes into this game with a 3-2 series advantage. NDSU won in Fargo last year 20-10 in a closely contested matchup.
I think this game will be key to what team can win the line of scrimmage. Both teams like to run the ball first. Turnovers will also play a key role into the game. NDSU's quarterback Brock Jensen has turned the ball over several times in the past couple games. Defenses on NDSU seem to be falling eight men back to the cover the passing game and this has caused confusion on the offense and led to a number of the interceptions he has thrown. In total, Jensen has thrown 7 interceptions.
Illinois State's Matt Brown has been also inconsistent especially in ISU's two losses to Missouri State and Southern Illinois. In total, he has thrown 10 picks on the season
I think NDSU will come out on top of this game. Their defense has won the games basically the past two weeks. I think the NDSU offense will get back on track before they head to the playoffs and will use the running game to do so.
This will likely still be a low scoring game as ISU also has a strong defense.
We shall see and I look forward to this game as this should give both teams a good test before both enter the postseason.