Bison notebook: On the bubble, Huskies seek one more win
St. Cloud State comes to the Fargodome tonight with something else on its mind. The playoffs. At 8-2, the Huskies are on the bubble to be one of four Midwest Region teams selected. They were fifth in the last poll. It appears if No. 4 Minnesota-D...
St. Cloud State comes to the Fargodome tonight with something else on its mind. The playoffs.
At 8-2, the Huskies are on the bubble to be one of four Midwest Region teams selected. They were fifth in the last poll.
It appears if No. 4 Minnesota-Duluth beats Winona State (Minn.), then the Bulldogs will be in. No. 1 Northwest Missouri State and No. 2 Northern Colorado appear to have spots locked.
"If we lose, our season is over," said St. Cloud coach Randy Hedberg. "If we win, we have an opportunity. But somebody has to lose ahead of us."
Even if St. Cloud wins and Duluth loses, it may not be enough for the Huskies. No. 6 Emporia State (Kan.) hosts Northwest Missouri and No. 7 Pittsburg State (Kan.) plays No. 3 Central Missouri State.
A win by either Emporia or Pittsburg could vault them into contention.
The Huskies can blame a loss to Minnesota, Mankato for that. One of Duluth's wins came against Mankato.
Still, Hedberg said his team has treated its last two games since the Mankato defeat like a playoff game. They beat Nebraska-Omaha and New Haven (Conn.) by a combined 98-26 margin.
"They have something in front of them that they haven't had in front of them for a long time," said NDSU head coach Bob Babich.
St. Cloud last made the playoffs in 1989.
Not huge hit to budget
Despite a Fargodome-low crowd of 6,126 in NDSU's last home appearance, Bison athletic director Gene Taylor said the school's athletic budget won't be adversely affected.
For one, a budgeted $50,000 guarantee to bring in a non-conference opponent for an 11th game never materialized.
That should offset a loss of ticket sales because of NDSU's subpar year, Taylor said.
Plus, there are no-show season ticket holders who already have paid for their seats.
Still, "it's a concern," Taylor said. "We'll know more once the last game comes along."
Defense keys resurgence
The last time the Huskies had a winning season was in 1997 when they went 6-5. Even with the likes of quarterback Todd Bouman, now with the Minnesota Vikings, and Harlon Hill finalist Randy Martin, the Huskies struggled to get to .500.
The difference: run defense. St. Cloud has given up only one 100-yard rusher all season.
"That's been a big factor why we're winning," Hedberg said. "We tried to stress that in the off-season."
Etc. etc. etc.
- Injuries to defensive linemen Cody Fechtelkotter and Leif Murphy have forced the Bison to juggle. Brandon Richardson, a center three weeks ago, will start at noseguard. Jordan Graff, normally the starting noseguard, will move to defensive tackle and Jamel Thomas will move from tackle to Murphy's end spot.
- Babich said running back Keontay Jackson's knee injury suffered last week is not career-ending. Jackson already took a medical hardship last year with an Achilles tear. "He said he's coming back," Babich said.