FARGO -- North Dakota State's objective each football season is to make sure there are six home games on the schedule. Mission accomplished for 2021.
The Bison will host Albany and Valparaiso in September of 2021 according to the website FBSchedules.com. WDAY Sports has confirmed the game against Albany, which is slated for Sept. 4, 2021. That will be the season and home opener for NDSU, facing the Great Danes for the first time in school history.
NDSU will pay Albany $250,000 for the game at the Fargodome. The Great Danes are members of the Colonial Athletic Association, and are currently 5-3 in this football season. The biggest football connection at the school is the New York Giants, who held training camp at the university from 1996-2012.
The other game scheduled for 2021 is with Valparaiso University out of the Pioneer League. The Crusaders will play in Fargo on Sept. 11, 2021 and be paid $240,000 for the trip to Fargo according to FBSchedules.com.
This will be a throwback game for Bison fans, Valpo has the distinction of being the first ever Division I game in North Dakota State history. The Bison won 52-0 at the dome in 2004. That game will mark three straight years NDSU will play a Pioneer League team. The Bison faced Butler this year at Target Field, they host Drake in 2020 and now the game with Valpo.
That leaves NDSU with one game to fill for the 2021 season and either Sept. 18 or Sept. 25 to play that game. NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen told WDAY's Dom Izzo that an FBS game "is still something we're working on, but there are obviously fewer teams left with available dates."
The Bison are slated to open Missouri Valley Football Conference play on Oct. 2 at the University of North Dakota, which will be NDSU's first game in Grand Forks since 2003.
The Bison have home conference games with Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Indiana State and South Dakota in 2021 with road games at SDSU, Youngstown State, UND and Illinois State. NDSU does not play Western Illinois or Southern Illinois that season.