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Bison are heading to U.S. Bank Stadium, NDSU to play Eastern Washington in 2023

NDSU will play in the first college football game in the stadium's history

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North Dakota State will play at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 2, 2023 against Eastern Washington. Forum News Service photo
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FARGO - North Dakota State's football team will return to the Twin Cities, but this time will play in an NFL stadium.

As first reported by Mike McFeely , the school announced Wednesday that the Bison will face Eastern Washington at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 2, 2023.

The game will mark the first college football contest at the stadium. St. John's and St. Thomas were scheduled to play at the home of the NFL's Minnesota Vikings in November of 2020, but that game was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"This has been in the works for the last couple of years." said NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen. "With so many alumni in that area, we felt strongly about getting down there every couple of years."

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This will mark the second time in four years that the Bison will open their football season in Minneapolis. The 2019 season opener was played at Target Field, the home of the Minnesota Twins as NDSU crushed the Butler Bulldogs, 57-10. More than 35,000 fans came to that game and NDSU made a sizable amount of money.

"A lot of people saw at Target Field how the NDSU fan base travels a couple years ago. It says where our program is to travel to one destination." Larsen said.

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North Dakota State's Dominic Gonnella carries against Eastern Washington during their first-round FCS football playoff game Saturday, April 24, 2021, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

NDSU deputy athletic director Todd Phelps told Dom Izzo in May about future destination games: "We'll look in region and out of region, and to make sense for our fan base, in Dallas or Las Vegas. We're open to opportunities and ideas to drive some revenue like we did with Target Field."

Larsen said that U.S. Bank Stadium has two separate contracts for NDSU and Eastern Washington. Ticket distribution for the two schools is still being discussed.

The Bison have FBS games lined up in 2022 at Arizona, 2024 at Colorado and 2028 at Oregon. In lieu of finding FBS opponents, the NDSU athletic department has decided this road is a profitable one to go down.

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"We do want to look at other opportunities. Once a lot of venues saw what happened at Target Field and in Frisco, there's great interest in these venues. They're trying to generate revenue, there's going to be interest there, if we can't get an FBS game this is something we're going to do for the fan base." Larsen said.

This game completes the 2023 schedule for NDSU. The Bison will host Maine on September 9th and Central Arkansas on September 16th.

Eastern Washington and NDSU have a long history against one another. The two schools just met in the 2021 FCS Playoffs in April, a 42-20 Bison win that saw the Eagles jump out to a 20-7 lead. That was the third all-time playoff meeting between the schools, who matched up in the 2019 FCS Championship, a 38-24 Bison win and the 2010 quarterfinals, an epic 38-31 EWU overtime win.

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Eastern Washington quarterback Eric Barriere turns the corner as North Dakota State's Jaylaan Wimbush is hit by Nsimba Webster during the NCAA Division I FCS championship game at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. David Samson / The Forum

The schools also played a home and home in 2016-17, each Bison victories, including another overtime game, a 50-44 NDSU win in September of 2016.

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Dom Izzo is the Sports Director at WDAY-TV. He began working for WDAY in 2006 as the weekend sports anchor and was promoted to Sports Director in 2010.
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