"It's a big game, we understand that and we're ready to get after it," Sumner said.
This was the scene at Coughlin Alumni the last time the Bison came to Brookings as the top ranked team in the country. That day in 2007 ended with SDSU upsetting its rival 29-24 in front of more than 16,000 fans. A big crowd will once again be on hand this Saturday when the Jackrabbits hope to repeat history.
"Campus is buzzing. So is the town of Brookings and all of South Dakota. Should be a fun time," Kilgore said.
"I think it's going to be a great atmosphere. I know that NDSU fans travel well but I also know that SDSU fans love playing NDSU," Zenner said.
Unfortunately, the Jacks haven't beaten the Bison on the gridiron since 2009. SDSU has won nine straight at home though and with the Dakota Marker on the line, players will be motivated.
"It's been on my computer background for 2-3 years now so I've been thinking about that one for a while," Sumner said.
On top of claiming the rivalry trophy, quarterback and Brandon-native Austin Sumner could also become SDSU's all-time leading passer. He needs just 291 yards to eclipse Ryan Berry who sits at 6,023. Success in the air would do a lot to free up space for Zach Zenner. In two games last season against NDSU, the All-American rusher failed to run for more than 50 yards each time.
"I got to do a better job on offense breaking more tackles, making more plays. Also just having confidence in what we're going to be doing up front," Zenner said.
While NDSU ranks in the top five in scoring defense, SDSU has done a good job of limiting turnovers this season. That's helped out the Jacks defense tremendously. However, that side of the ball will have its hands full. The Bison don't like to leave the field and are at the top in the FCS when it comes to converting third downs at 66%.
"We'll need the fans in Coughlin Stadium to give us a little boost especially on third downs, make a little noise. Help us out on the field," Kilgore said.
It should be plenty noisy as both teams look to start out on the right foot in the Missouri Valley.
"The team that wins this, and ideally it's the Jackrabbits, really sets the tone for conference play," Stiegelmeier said.
SDSU and NDSU are scheduled for a 2 p.m. kickoff Saturday.