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Showing posts from September, 2018

3 Matchups to Watch: NDSU

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Saturday is almost here.  Where did the week go?  Like any Dakota Marker week, there has been plenty of trash talk between fans on Twitter and fan forums.  However, both programs have been unusually quiet on social media.  Both programs recognize the significance of this game and the implications it could have for playoff seeding.  In rivalry games there is so much emotion and the game can hinge on a single play or a short series of plays.  This game is filled with matchups that could swing the game one way or another but here are three that stand out to me.

1. Brandon Snyder vs. Bison running game
Brandon Snyder left Iowa as a grad transfer and chose SDSU for multiple reasons; closer to home, a program where he can express his faith freely, the family atmosphere and the chance to play in big-time, meaningful games. A match-up between the #1 and #3 teams in the nation probably fits the bill on the last point.  His physical presence seems to have shifted how the Jackrabbit defense carr…

Game Preview: North Dakota State University

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The Jacks enter "Marker" week at 2-0 and are facing a 3-0 Bison team.  The Jackrabbits have won the Dakota Marker game the past two seasons while the Bison are coming off a national championship last season.  Chris Kleiman is in his fourth season steering the Bison and has continued the historic run.

The Bison are who they always are.  On offense they want to pound their opponents on the ground and then make plays through the air when the defense over commits to the run.  On defense they just want to punch you in the mouth, limit the  yardage on first and second down, and then send the pressure and force a turnover or incomplete pass.  This is who they have been since the beginning of time.  2018 is no different.

Offense:
The Bison offense has a phenomenal stable of running backs in 2018.  #10 Lance Dunn and #8 Bruce Anderson are two of the best running backs in the FCS.  Dunn missed last years contest in Brookings and while Anderson was held mostly in check on his 8 carries…

Rants & Raves: UAPB

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Wow!  I never ever thought I would see a game like that live.  I never really understood how a game could get so out of control like that but after watching it live I now understand.  To be honest, I thought UAPB would put up more of a fight.  UAPB choosing to hold out their top two quarterbacks out of the game definitely added an unforeseen wrinkle.  However, I entirely did not expect their defense to be completely unable to tackle our skill players.  So with that, here are a few rants and raves this week.

Rave: I feel great about the wide receiver group.  Cade Johnson (5 rec, 162 yards, and 2 TD), Adam Anderson (4 rec, 128 yards, and 1 TD), Marquise Lewis, and Jacob Brown (1 rec, 9 yards, and 1 TD) are a great group.  Alex Wilde (4 rec, 66 yards) also made a few really nice catches on Saturday.  The Jacks will still be adding Deyon Campbell into the mix too.  I would not be surprised if he made his debut against NDSU.

Rave: Reece Winkleman made a statement in his first start, finis…

3 Matchups to Watch: UAPB

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In 2017 "3 Matchups to Watch" was my favorite blog every week.  Digging into the rosters and figuring out how the teams match up is part of the fun.  Every team has strengths.  Every team has weaknesses.  Sometimes one teams strengths align with the opponents strengths creating a "unstoppable force meets unmovable object" scenario.  How the opponent works to exploit those weaknesses or minimize the opponents strengths is part of the fun.

So here we go with the 2018 version...

3 Matchups to Watch:

1. Jordan Brown vs. Josh Wilkes
This matchup has me pumped for Saturday!  JB is one of the best cornerbacks in the FCS and is drawing interest from NFL scouts.  Wilkes, a former Eastern Michigan commit, is 2nd in the FCS in receiving yards with 420 yards.  I would fully expect Brown to lock in on Wilkes wherever he lines up.  Last year, Wilkes was playing at junior college powerhouse Butler CC and was receiving offers from FBS schools, including Southern Mississippi.  He posse…

Game Preview: University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff

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The Jackrabbits are 1-0 after a statement 45-14 victory against Montana State last Saturday.  This week the Jackrabbits face the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB) Golden Lions who are 1-1 on the season.  I believe this is the first meeting between the two institutions.  Last week, Pine-Bluff defeated Cumberland University from the NAIA 55-0.   UAPB has a new head coach this season in Cedric Thompson.  Previously he was the defensive back coach at Alcorn State since 2012.  One area that they need to clean up is their penalties.  Coach Thompson addressed this in his postgame interview following the Morehouse defeat.  Through just two games they have been called for 21 penalties for 248 yards.

Offense:
Through two games it is pretty evident that the Golden Lions want to air the ball out through a spread attack.  As a team they have passed for 826 yards versus just 280 on the ground. The quarterback,  #10 Shannon Patrick is a junior who has been really letting it rip this season.  …

Rants & Raves: Montana State

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(Photo by Larry Sellers)

Wow! Wasn't Saturday fun?  I forgot how much I missed college football Saturdays!  I apologize that I haven't been able to do opponent previews the past two weeks.  In a bit of personal news, I am now working at another institution.  The first few weeks have been some long hours and a big learning curve.  However, I'm hoping that this week the days aren't quite as long and I'll have some time to write in the evenings again. 

Rants and Raves
This week's "Rants & Raves" are difficult as the Jacks came out and played a pretty clean game so there will be lots of "raves" and few "rants."

Rave: Obviously, Cade Johnson had a big game (9 rec. 138, 4 TD) but Adam Anderson also came up big with 4 rec for 86 yards.  Marquise Lewis made two timely catches and Mikey Daniel caught four passes out of the backfield.  The big question entering the season is who is going to step up and make plays on the outside.  Saturday…