Two high-power offenses are going head-to-head on Saturday for the right to face Grand Valley State at Lubbers Stadium next weekend.
UND starts their playoff run against Winona State, a team that they have handled fairly easily in their last couple meetings. North Dakota has defeated Winona State by scores of 42-0, 49-2, and 51-6 in their last 3 meetings.
However, with those games, UND boasted one of, if not the best, defense in Division II football. In this game between the 2 teams, however, it's the offenses taking center stage.
Weston Dressler, Ryan Chappell, and Danny Freund are the 3-headed monster that run the Fighting Sioux offense that is perhaps one of the best that North Dakota has fielded in their history. The Fighting Sioux have put up some gaudy offensive numbers, rushing for 254.4 yards a game and passing for 263.8 yards a game.
The Fighting Sioux defense, while still stellar, has been suspect for UND standards, yielding over 320 yards and nearly 20 points per game. Surprisingly, UND's ball-hawking defense has only picked off 7 passes this season as well. Last season, the Sioux defense picked off 14 passes and only gave up 101 yards a game rushing, compared to this year's 137 yards.
On the other side of the ball, Winona State comes in with an equally impressive offense, rushing for 213.1 yards per game and passing for 269.2 yards per game. Those numbers alone show that if WSU can get the passing game going, they may be able to throw deep against the Sioux without much worry about turning the ball over.
Winona's defense, however, is definitely lacking. While UND is boasting one of the best receivers in Division II football, Winona State is giving up nearly 300 yards a game through the air, and 25 touchdowns on the season. On the contrary, Winona State's secondary has been stellar, picking off 18 passes.
In the end, however, UND went through the NCC gauntlet while Winona State went through the much less impressive NSIC. The Sioux have shown success against Winona State in recent years, including last season, and will want to make a deep playoff run in their last year in Division II football. What better way to celebrate your last Division II season than meeting up with the playoff rival Lakers of Grand Valley?
North Dakota - 42
Winona State - 24
Tale of the Tape: North Dakota - Winona State
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