FARGO — North Dakota State plays at South Dakota State next Saturday and that game has been on the Bison schedule since it was released to the public. After what happened on Saturday, it's even a bigger game now.
The Bison defeated Missouri State 22-0 and the Jackrabbits won at Indiana State 42-23 setting up a showdown of two undefeated teams in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. NDSU and SDSU share the lead at 3-0 and both are ranked in the top three in both the Football Championship Subdivision coaches and the STATS.com media top 25 polls.
It wasn't the smoothest of performances and Bison head coach Matt Entz was asked if that impending game for the Dakota Marker next week factored into it. He said his team had "good focus" all week in practice.
"I didn't even know who we were playing next and I didn't say one thing about it," he said. "I do know they know now."
Plus, Entz said don't forget that Missouri State head coach Dave Steckel was a defensive coordinator at a high FBS level at the University of Missouri.
"I have to give credit to Missouri State," he said. "I thought they did an outstanding job. They had a great game plan. You don't coach in the SEC for a number of years or win Big 12 championships and be a bad coach. I'm sure he was involved in the defensive plan that they had."
Two starters sit out with injuries
NDSU played without two starters in defensive end Derrek Tuszka and fullback Garrett Malstrom because of injuries suffered during the week in practice.
Tuszka has a hamstring issue and Malstrom injured his knee. Tuszka is expected back this week and Malstrom may also be available.
Meanwhile, the Bison lost receiver Zach Mathis against the Bears with an apparent knee injury. Entz did not know the details of the injury immediately after the game.
Running back Ty Brooks didn't play in the second half, but Entz said he could've played if needed.
Lance tucked and ran
Bison quarterback Trey Lance was asked about the fourth down play in the fourth quarter when he chose to not pass to wide-open tight end Noah Gindorff and instead ran. The Bison faced fourth and 3 from the Missouri State 18 and Lance ran to the 1-yard line. It looked like an easy pass on which Gindorff would've easily scored because he was so wide open.
"That would have been his six for six, six catches for six touchdowns," Lance said. "My mindset was to get the first down. I have to get the first down regardless. Maybe if it was a choice down it would have been a little differnet but I knew if I could get the first down I was going to tuck it and get the first down."
Running back Adam Cofield plowed into the end zone on the next play for a touchdown that gave NDSU a 22-0 lead.
Freshmen make debuts
Some true freshmen suited up for their first game and some saw their first action against Missouri State. Defensive ends Will and Eli Mostaert, twins from Lakeville, Minn., were in uniform and Will played. Jaden Klabo from Fargo Davies dressed, as did Jalen Bussey, a running back from Brandon, Fla. ... True freshman receiver Braylon Henderson saw his first action. ... Senior safety Dom Davis, who earlier this season said he was retiring from football because of knee injuries, dressed for the Bison. ... NDSU was a 40-point favorite entering the game, according to overseas betting web site 5dimes.