The Dakota Marker will be up-for-grabs on Saturday, as third-ranked SDSU plays at number one, and defending FCS champion, NDSU.
South Dakota State has won back-to-back regular season games against rival North Dakota State, and will look to retain the Dakota Marker trophy on Saturday.
“Just being able to keep the marker in Brookings the last two years has been awesome. Aiming to make that 3 now. I know they’re itching to get it back just like we were itching to get it back my sophomore year,” Senior Quarterback Taryn Christion said.
It’ll be a battle of wills between SDSU and NDSU. The Jackrabbits feature the nation’s top-ranked offense, averaging 67.5 points and 700 total yards per game, while the Bison boast the top scoring defense in the FCS, allowing less than seven points per contest.
“They’re really good. They’re fast. They disguise their coverages and their fronts really well. Then add in their crowd, which really makes it tough to communicate, to get the snap count, and all those types of things. That combination, I think, is really tough,” Head Coach John Stiegelmeier said.
The Jacks’ defense is hoping for a repeat performance of last year’s game, where they forced five turnovers and limited the Bison to 21 points.
“I know Easton Stick and I know he remembers last year’s game and he’s worked really hard to redeem himself. He’s a great football player,” Stiegelmeier said.
“Changing up the looks, trying to confuse him. Obviously he’s a good quarterback, he’s going to know what he’s doing, but like you said, just playing intense, ripping at the ball, making breaks on the ball,” Junior Linebacker Christian Rozeboom said.
SDSU will also have to deal with a hostile crowd at the FargoDome, where they’re 2-14 since it opened in 1993.
“You can feel the noise and feel how loud it is in there. You can feel your hands shaking and your skin vibrating just from how loud it can get in there. It helps the defense yeah, but I think it also brings energy to the offense because you feed off that too,” Christion said.
Kickoff is set for 2:30 Saturday at the FargoDome.