Great West schedule begins at Cal Poly with must-win game
North Dakota State has yet to play a Great West Football Conference game and already the Bison are in a must-win situation. League leader California Poly, NDSU's opponent on Saturday, is 2-0 with games left against winless Southern Utah and 2-2 C...
North Dakota State has yet to play a Great West Football Conference game and already the Bison are in a must-win situation.
League leader California Poly, NDSU's opponent on Saturday, is 2-0 with games left against winless Southern Utah and 2-2 California Davis.
"This could pretty much determine the rest of the season for us," Bison noseguard Rodney Thompson said.
With just six teams, there is not much room for an off day in the conference. After Poly, the Bison are at home against Davis on Oct. 22, play at Southern Utah on Oct. 29 and return home to play Northern Colorado and South Dakota State.
The task is clear: somebody has to stop Cal Poly.
"It's our chance to get our championship," offensive tackle Tim Popowski said. "We can't win a national championship but we can win this conference championship."
The Bison are ineligible for postseason competition until 2008 because of a Division I reclassification.
Cal Poly won both of its league games on the road - 24-16 at SDSU and 31-14 at UNC.
Poly won the league last year with a 4-1 record. Davis was 3-2 and everybody else went 2-3.
If the Mustangs beat the Bison on Saturday, they would be well on their way to at least another 4-1 mark.
"This is the most important week of the year and some weeks you have to coach a little harder to make sure that message comes through,"Cal Poly head coach Rich Ellerson said. "This is an easy week for a coach. The guys know. I don't have to worry about the guys being focused and motivated."
The same goes for the NDSU players.
"To win the conference, while achievable, is a lofty goal," Bison head coach Craig Bohl said. "The guys have to play well in this stretch to get it done. Cal Poly on the road out of the chute presents a big, big challenge."
Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546