San Diego State vs. North Dakota
Time: 5:00 p.m.
Location: Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA
Radio: KOGO, 95.7 FM & AM 600
Facts and History
-San Diego State (1-1, 0-0 MWC) welcomes North Dakota (2-0, 0-0 Big Sky) to Qualcomm Stadium for the first ever meeting between the two schools.
-SDSU is 22-11 against the current configuration of the Big Sky conference, but many of those meetings came against Cal Poly prior to the program joining the Division I ranks.
-This is the first road game of the season for North Dakota. The Fighting Sioux are currently riding a three-game road winning streak.
-The Aztecs will be the sixth FBS opponent North Dakota will face since moving up to the Division I ranks in 2008. UND is winless against those six opponents with the close games coming against Northern Illinois (23-17) in 2010 and Fresno State (27-22) in 2011.
- San Diego State 80th and North Dakota is ranked 146th in the Sagarin Ratings.
When San Diego State Has The Ball
San Diego State will look to pound the ball once again with Adam Muema and Walter Kazee. Last week the rushing game had 228 yards on 5.4 yards a carry. Quarterback Ryan Katz tries to build upon his game against Army where he finished the game throwing 14 completions to 7 different receivers for 215 yards and most importantly no turnovers.
With Ezell Ruffin getting his feet wet in the receiving game, 5 catches for 132 yards against Army, it should take less attention off both Colin Lockett and Gavin Escobar. Also expect Brice Butler to reel in his first catch as an Aztec today.
The offensive line will need to continue their physical play, creating holes in the running game and giving Katz time to go through his progressions. Just don't see the Fighting Sioux having any answer for the Aztecs balanced offense.
Edge: San Diego State
When North Dakota Has The Ball
The Fighting Sioux offense comes into Qualcomm Stadium averaging 527 yards and 55.5 points per game in their first two games of the season. The high powered attack is led by senior quarterback Marcus Hendrickson and junior wide receiver Greg Hardin. Last week was the first career start for Hendrickson who completed 16 of his 24 passes for 294 yards including six touchdown passes. He also had 50 rushing yards. Hardin was the main contributor to the passing game as he had 6 catches for 190 yards and 3 touchdowns.
The offensive line for North Dakota is huge! Their smallest lineman is 6-foot-4 and 302 pounds; even their tight end stands at 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds. It will be hard for the Aztecs to get to the quarterback with that massive o-line in the way.
All that being when North Dakota has the ball it will be all about what SDSU is doing on the field. In the last six quarters of Aztec football, the defense has only allowed 14 points, 440 yards of offense, 11 completed passes and forced 4 turnovers. San Diego State should come out and keep the defensive juggernaut going by having Leon McFadden and Josh Wade shut down Hardin.
Edge: San Diego State
Round and round we go with the special teams carousel. This week junior Wes Feer sits atop the depth chart for kicking field goals and kickoffs. Seamus McMorrow will have the punting gig for the second straight week. While North Dakota comes in with a game changing special teams unit, last season the Fighting Sioux led all FCS teams with 10 blocked kicks (6 PAT's and 4 Field Goals). It was no fluke either as UND has already blocked 3 kicks in only 2 games. But will SDSU even attempt a field goal? UND's kickers have also outperformed SDSU by going 2-for-3 on field goals including a long of 50 yards.
Edge: North Dakota
Will SDSU come into this game with too much confidence after their blowout victory against Army? Or will the Aztecs come into this matchup knowing this is a must win game instead of a will win. The feeling in the locker room is a strong lean towards a must win. "We're not taking anyone lightly," Katz said. "They're the next opponent and we want to beat them." While North Dakota shouldn't surprise San Diego State with anything they do today, but if they do, we might have a close game at Qualcomm.
Edge: San Diego State
Aztecs won't take the duo of Hendrickson and Hardin lightly as the experienced secondary will shutdown the combo. Expect the Aztecs to continue to pound the rock with Kazee and Muema, keeping North Dakota's offense off the field. The SDSU offensive line will give Katz plenty of time to throw as he will have another efficient evening. Aztecs win this one big.
San Diego State 38 North Dakota 14
Game Day Breakdown: North Dakota at SDSU
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