The Dakota Marker game between SDSU and NDSU showcases what has become one of the biggest rivalries in the Football Championship Subdivision. However, this year it may mean a lot more.
The Jackrabbits and Bison have been battling since 1903 when NDSU blanked SDSU 85-0. Fast forward over a century and the two rivals are still duking it out. The Bison have won the last five meetings while picking up three consecutive FCS championships along the way. However this year that may change.
"We hope so. Even though North Dakota St. has won a couple of championships in a row, it's not like we thought we couldn't do it too, as well as 30 other teams that felt the same way. To be there though you have to play every play like it is your last and that is one of the things our guys keep pushing," SDSU Head Coach John Stiegelmeier said.
The Jackrabbits heightened sense of confidence comes from their battle tested upper-classmen. They have led SDSU to back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since moving to Division-1. Their rivals to the north may have won the last National Championship, but since then have lost their head coach and many key players. That has the boys in Brookings thinking they can finally get past their foes from Fargo.
"We definitely have the confidence that we can. At the same time NDSU obviously is going to be a very challenging opponent, they always are. As for the transition, they are going to bring it it again like they do every year. I have had confidence every year that we could beat them. It just hasn't happened yet," SDSU Senior RB Zach Zenner said.
South Dakota St. has never won a conference title since joining the Missouri Valley in '08. Since then they have known that they need to focus on the task at hand, but the road to getting their first goes North on I-29.
"Always, that is always the goal. 1-0 is what we preach and we play one game at a time. The Missouri Valley is a big deal to us and that is what we want. Obviously they have a great team up there, but we are hoping this is the year we can pull it all together. We have been close, but close isn't good enough," SDSU Junior LB T. J. Lally said.
These two bitter rivals will meet for the 102nd time on November 1st when the Jacks travel to Fargo week nine.