The ramp up to the 2021 North Dakota State football season continues on the Bison Media Zone.

This week we'll focus on the best individual players that the Bison will face this season.

The final player of this series is a familiar one to NDSU and FCS fans, South Dakota State running back Pierre Strong. Strong made a splash as a freshman in 2018 in leading SDSU to the national semifinals and has become one of the best running backs in the country over that time.

Strong ran for 1,018 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019 to earn first team All-Valley honors and followed that up with 707 yards and three touchdowns this spring as SDSU reached the national championship game. Strong missed one game because of injury, but delivered in the big moments, including a 53 yard touchdown run at the Fargodome against the Bison in the Jacks win.

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South Dakota State's Pierre Strong, Jr. runs towards the end zone before getting tackled by North Dakota State’s Dawson Weber during their football game on Saturday, April 17, 2021, in the Fargodome.
Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum
South Dakota State's Pierre Strong, Jr. runs towards the end zone before getting tackled by North Dakota State’s Dawson Weber during their football game on Saturday, April 17, 2021, in the Fargodome. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum

He delivered in the postseason as well, which included a passing and rushing touchdown in the semifinal blowout win over Delaware. The 5-11, 205 pound junior got some help this year with freshman Isaiah Davis' breakout season. Those two paired together makes the Jacks running attack the best in the FCS for this coming season.

What's interesting to see for this upcoming year is how each running back is used. Especially with a question mark at quarterback with the injury to Mark Gronowski, do we see Strong used even more in the passing game?

One thing for certain is that Strong is a marked man for all defenses and he will not be sneaking up on anyone this upcoming year.