'Jacks Hit the Road to Face Nationally Ranked Bison
Sept. 6, 2007
NACOGDOCHES - The Stephen F. Austin Lumberjack football team will look to put a disappointing season-opening setback behind them Saturday as they travel to Fargo, N.D. to face No. 4 (Sports Network FCS Top-25 poll) North Dakota State. The 'Jacks (0-1) are coming off a 27-24 overtime setback against Tarleton State in their season opener. Saturday's game represents the season opener for the Bison. North Dakota State is coming off a 10-1 campaign that saw them finish the season ranked fifth in the nation. The Bison's lone 2006 setback was a one-point decision at Minnesota, 10-9. Saturday's game is slated to begin at 6:35 p.m., and will be broadcast on Fox Sports North.
Saturday's matchup against North Dakota State will mark the second time the two teams have faced on the gridiron. The Bison made their trip to Nacogdoches last season ranked 11th in the country. It was a close game that saw SFA drop a 17-9 decision.
North Dakota State rolled into Nacogdoches last season 4-0 and sporting a No. 11 national ranking. SFA entered the game looking for its first win of the season. The Bison scored 17 points in the second quarter to take a 17-3, but SFA hung tough. The Lumberjack defense went to work in the second half, shutting out the Bison, but it was enough as SFA was only able to manage two second-half field goals. NDSU finished the game with 358 yards of total offense, of which 212 came in the opening half. Junior Danny Southall completed 25 passes for 200 yards in the game, and senior Nick Rhodes hauled in a career-high nine passes for 87 yards. The 'Jacks ground attack was limited to only 71 yards.
Ironically, the 2006 contest against North Dakota State was also the last time SFA has faced a team ranked in the Sports Network FCS Top 25. North Dakota State recored a 17-9 victory in the game. The 'Jacks are 16-19 (.457) all-time against ranked FCS opponents.
THE BATTLE IN THE TRENCHES: Saturday's game will pit a North Dakota State starting offensive line that averages 6-4, 298 pounds, against a young Lumberjack starting defensive line that averages 6-2, 256 pounds. The Lumberjacks' offensive line enters the game averaging 6-4, 305 pounds. The Bison defensive line averages 6-2, 269 pounds.
Following the North Dakota State game, SFA will take a week off before returning to the field. The Lumberjacks return to action Saturday, Sept. 22, when they host Western Illinois. The game against the Leathernecks is slated to begin at 6 p.m. from Homer Bryce Stadium.