Following a tough loss to Mississippi State, Arizona Football (1-1), returns to action for a tough matchup against FCS power, North Dakota State (2-0).
Well, despite winning in week one over a formidable opponent in San Diego State, Arizona Football came crashing back to reality as they lost to a skilled and physical Mississippi State team.
Returning to action this Saturday for week three of the 2022 season, the Wildcats should have yet another significant challenge on their hands as they take on a great FCS program in North Dakota State.
Coming in, the Bison are a formidable FCS opponent and are coming off of impressive wins over Drake and North Carolina A&T.
Perhaps luckily for us, the Bison will be playing in a new environment and will have to get used to playing at a late, local kickoff time. With that said, here is our preview of the Wildcats’ game against North Dakota State!
Getting to Know the details of Arizona Football’s opponent, the North Dakota State Bison.
Team: North Dakota State Bison
Conference: Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) – FCS
Head Coach: Matt Entz enters his 4th season with the Bison having compiled a 39–4 (20–3) record at North Dakota State. Joining a dominant program, Entz has continued the program’s winning ways, having been to three-straight FCS playoffs and winning two National Championships.
2021 Record: Finishing 14–1 (7–1) in 2021, North Dakota State ended its season with a 38–10 win over Montana State to win the FCS National Championship. Their only loss came against then No. 9 ranked South Dakota State. The Bison lost 27–19.
Key Returners / Starters:
Led behind quarterback Cam Miller, the Bison do attack defenses through the air; however, they also use several players in the backfield as part of their unique running game.
And unlike the previous two offenses the Wildcats have faced so far, North Dakota State runs a bit of a power type of offense, while incorporating significant use of the fullback and tight end positions as part of play action as well.
Come Saturday, the Bison should present yet another significant challenge for the Wildcats defensively, as the Bison have at least eight players with six or more carries this season. For North Dakota State, it is a running back room by committee.
Arizona will have to stack the box and prepare for a significant portion of this game being played in the trenches, and for them to be successful, it means maintaining solid gap responsibility and attacking the line of scrimmage.
However, they cannot become complacent about the passing game either. As we said, Cam is their quarterback, and while he may not be like former Bison greats Carson Wentz or Trey Lance who donned Bison jerseys before him, he is still a very capable passer and can extend plays.
With that said, look for Noah Gindorff, Zach Mathis, Hunter Luepke, and Braylon Henderson to get a significant amount of their targets.
Defensively, the Bison are stout! Using primarily a base 4-3 defense, North Dakota State is holding to just 204.0 yards (121.5 rushing and 82.5 passing), and 8.5 points per game.
Led by eight seniors starting on defense, overall, North Dakota State is well-coached and possesses several playmakers. Showing great gap responsibility along the defensive line, this is a group that also loves pressuring the quarterback, already registering six sacks and four quarterback hurries in two games.
Look for defensive ends Spencer Waege and Tony Pierce to present several challenges for the Wildcats’ offensive line this weekend. Perhaps luckily for Arizona, the Bison may be without preseason All-American Eli Mostaert this week.
At linebacker, the Bison are very active and well-disciplined and possess a ton of skill. Using a solid two-deep group, the Bison disguise their coverages and blitz packages while using a rotation of James Kaczor, Logan Kapp, Nick Kubitz, Luke Weerts, and Julian Wlodarczyk.
In the secondary is where North Dakota State may perhaps excel the most. Holding teams to just 82.5 yards per game, this is a highly skilled group. Using a rotation of Courtney Eubanks, Sam Jung, Marques Sigle, and Destin Telbert among others, Arizona’s receivers are going to be tested quite a bit in this one.
Overall, the Wildcats should once again have a challenge on their hands as this is a formidable and aggressive FCS defense. If the Wildcats can find a rhythm and move the ball as they did against San Diego State, look for them to have a chance to win this one.
Game information and details for Arizona Football:
When: Saturday, September 17th, 2022
Time: 8:00 PM MST
Spread: TBD (Also, don’t forget to use WynnBet to enhance your overall betting experience)
Where: Arizona Stadium – Tucson, AZ (50,782)
Overall Series Record: 0-0. Having never played each other before, come Saturday, this will be the first meeting between the two schools.
Last Meeting vs. Arizona: N/A
My Prediction: Arizona 38 North Dakota State 34 – This one is going to be a battle. North Dakota State is a darn good team will plenty of NFL Talent, they have good player development and great coaching overall.
I do think the Wildcats will learn from their losses in week two and will get the better of the Bison, but this is going to be a nail-biter until the end with the Cats barely escaping.