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Plenty at stake on Saturday when Bison head to South Dakota State

No decision made to the Bison starting quarterback in wake of Patterson shoulder injury.

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NDSU quarterback Cam Miller readies to pitch the ball on an extra point against Towson at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Maryland, on Saturday, Sept. 18. David Samson / The Forum
Forum Communications Co.

FARGO —So many questions, not many answers on the Monday of Dakota Marker week. In other words, not much has changed in the years North Dakota State and South Dakota State have taken a Division II game that usually didn’t mean much to a Division I FCS rivalry that perennially has playoff and national title implications.

There will be plenty at stake Saturday at Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium for the 2 p.m. kickoff. At 8-0 overall and leading the Missouri Valley Football Conference at 5-0, the Bison could further strengthen their case for a top two playoff seed.

SDSU, the national runnerup last spring, is in more of a must-win mode in that regard. The Jackrabbits are 6-2, 3-2.

“They’re probably one of the best teams in the country over the course of the last couple of years,” said NDSU head coach Matt Entz.

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Especially when healthy. The Jacks have been without running back Isaiah Davis and cornerback Don Gardner in recent weeks, although both are listed in the two deep chart for the Bison game.
Entz, on the other hand, did not reveal anything further with his quarterback situation. Sophomore Cam Miller started for the injured Quincy Patterson last Saturday and delivered a 10 of 14 passing gem for 179 yards and three touchdowns in a 44-2 win over Indiana State.

In two games, Miller is 21 of 29 passing with six touchdowns and one interception. He’s also only had five yards in losses in those two games.

Patterson is listed No. 1 on Monday’s depth chart, but a Monday two deep for the Bison doesn’t necessarily translate to Saturday accuracy. Entz said he expects Patterson, who missed the Sycamore game with a shoulder injury, to take more reps in practice this week.

“Still a little banged up,” Entz said. “Haven’t been out in the field yet to see where we’re at. I know he’s hungry to get back at it. Regardless … we’ll put whomever can help us win on the field on Saturday.”

Asked further when that decision will need to be made, Entz said the top two quarterbacks usually get the same number of snaps in practice during the week.

“We hope sooner than later,” he said. “I don’t think it will necessarily be today.”

NDSU remained ranked No. 2 in the Stats Perform Top 25 media and FCS coaches polls. Only the Bison and Sam Houston State remained unscathed to date, but nine other ranked teams have just one loss.

Entz said junior backup middle linebacker Luke Weerts will miss the rest of the season because of a non-football related back injury. He’s expected to return for spring practice.

Related Topics: MATT ENTZ
Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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