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Game Day notebook: Joe Stoffel excited to play lead tight end role for Bison

NDSU tight end Joe Stoffel is slated to make his second consecutive start with starting TE Noah Gindorff sidelined due to injury.

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North Dakota State's Joe Stoffel is pushed out of bounds by South Dakota’s Myles Harden during their football game Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, in Vermillion, South Dakota.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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FARGO — North Dakota State tight end Joe Stoffel had multiple NCAA Division I FBS offers when he committed to play football for the Bison.

“I think NDSU had everything I wanted and it has all come through," said Stoffel, now in his third season in the program.

The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Stoffel is going to be leaned on more at 1 p.m. Saturday against Youngstown State in Missouri Valley Football Conference play at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

The highly regarded recruit is going to get his second consecutive start with senior tight end Noah Gindorff sidelined for a second straight week due to injury.

“It’s exciting, getting this opportunity to step up," said Stoffel, from River Falls, Wis. “Getting this opportunity to showcase why I’m here, why they brought me here.”

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Stoffel has played in 28 games during his Bison career with four career catches for 41 yards. He primarily played behind Gindorff and former Bison tight end Josh Babicz, who is now on the Carolina Panthers practice squad.

“I couldn’t have asked for better two guys to learn from," Stoffel said.

Stoffel had a career-high two receptions for 28 yards in a 34-17 victory at South Dakota last weekend in the MVFC opener for both teams.

“I think you will see Joe, when we don’t have Noah, will take over a lot of the responsibilities that Noah had," Bison head coach Matt Entz said. “He had a couple big catches for us, did a great job on the line of scrimmage, (the) first game he’s really started since being here.”

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Bison junior fullback Logan Hofstedt is listed as the No. 2 tight end on the depth chart for the Youngstown State game. Entz said redshirt freshmen tight ends Finn Diggins and Carson Williams could also see expanded roles as the season progresses, especially if Gindorff remains out.

Williams, who transferred from the University of Buffalo, is still relatively new to the Bison offensive system and is working on learning the complexities of the position, Entz said.

“What we do is moving fast right now," Entz said.

The Bison are averaging 40.2 points and 385.5 yards per game through four games. They are also averaging 265.5 rushing yards per game.

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“We’re running the ball really, really hard," Stoffel said. “We haven’t met our full potential yet and we’re already doing really, really well. I’m excited to see where we are going.”

Another honor for OT Cody Mauch

For the second time this month, NDSU left tackle Cody Mauch was named the Missouri Valley Offensive Lineman of the Week by the league office. Mauch led a strong Bison rushing attack in the 34-17 win at South Dakota last week while allowing no quarterback sacks or hurries or tackles for lost yardage.

The Bison ran for a season-high 356 yards, averaging 5.8 yards per carry.

Mauch also earned the honor after the season-opening win against Drake University (Iowa).

Missouri Valley leads FCS in power rankings

The first week or two of the season didn't appear to treat the Missouri Valley Football Conference as well as other years, when the conference dominated the pre-conference matchups across the FCS.

The power polls seem to say otherwise. Nine of the 11 MVFC teams rank in the top 25 of FCS programs in the Sagarin ratings. Only Indiana State and Western Illinois fall outside that range. Murray State, which joins the Valley next year, is 21 spots below Western. NDSU at No. 55 overall remains the top league team in the power poll.

The Valley is the top-rated FCS league in the Sagarin. The same nine teams ranked in the top 33 of the Massey FCS computer rankings with eight Valley teams.

On the flipside, the Valley in its "Challenge Series" with the Big Sky Conference, tied this year with each league getting three wins apiece. The Valley won it the previous five years after it was started in 2017.

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Etc, etc, etc

  • The Bison rushed for 200 yards and scored 24 unanswered points in the second half against the University of South Dakota last weekend. NDSU fullback Hunter Luepke rushed for 118 of his 146 yards after halftime.
  • NDSU safety Dawson Weber forced two fumbles against the Coyotes last weekend as the Bison created four turnovers, including interceptions from linebackers Luke Weerts and Logan Kopp.
  • Youngstown quarterback Demeatric Crenshaw is completing just 48% of his passes on 32 of 67, but he has five touchdowns against just one interceptions.
  • Youngstown has picked off seven passes in three games after having just nine picks in 10 games last season.
  • NDSU has a 12-4 series record against Youngstown State, winning the previous 10 games. YSU has a 2-5 record in the Fargodome, including a 27-24 victory in 2011 in Fargo.
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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