No. 1-ranked North Dakota State (6-0, 3-0 MVFC) plays Southern Illinois (4-3, 2-1 MVFC) at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, at Saluki Stadium (15,000) in Carbondale, Ill., in the first of two straight Missouri Valley Football Conference road games for the Bison, who have won 14 straight games away from Fargo. NDSU does not play at home again until Nov. 9 against Illinois State after an open week.
TELEVISION: Live coverage in high definition begins at 2 p.m. on KVLY with Brian Shawn describing the action, KFYR's Lee Timmerman as color analyst, and KVLY's Jamal Spencer on the sideline.
THE SERIES: This is the eighth meeting between North Dakota State and Southern Illinois. NDSU has won three straight to take a 4-3 edge in the series including a 23-17 victory in Fargo last season. The Bison are 1-3 all-time in Carbondale with their only victory coming at Saluki Stadium by a 9-3 score in 2011. The series dates back to 1963 in Carbondale when SIU won 20-15 to end coach Darrell Mudra's first year at NDSU. The teams met as non-conference opponents again in 2005 when SIU won 9-0 in the season finale for NDSU.
LAST WEEK: North Dakota State extended its Missouri Valley Football Conference-record winning streak to 15 games with a 41-26 homecoming win over Missouri State. Brock Jensen was 20-for-28 passing for a career-high 313 yards and three touchdowns. He found 10 different receivers including Zach Vraa, who caught touchdown passes of 36 and 23 yards and totaled five catches for a career-high 179 yards. Kevin Vaadeland scored on a 33-yard pass on his only catch of the day. Christian Dudzik set up two NDSU touchdowns with a 29-yard interception return and an MSU fumble recovery. Grant Olson led the NDSU defense with 11 tackles, a forced fumble, two quarterback hurries and a pass breakup. Zach Colvin, Travis Beck and Colten Heagle had six tackles apiece with Beck getting a half sack and two breakups.
VRAA, SMITH NATIONAL PERFORMERS OF WEEK: North Dakota State had two players recognized as national performers of the week by the College Football Performance Awards following the Missouri State game. Zach Vraa was named FCS National Wide Receiver of the Week after catching five passes for a career-high 179 yards and two touchdowns. He caught TD passes of 36 and 23 yards and had two other catches go for 56 and 52 yards. Ryan Smith, the Missouri Valley Football Conference Special Teams Player of the Week, was named FCS National Punt Returner of the Week. Smith turned his first punt return of the year into an 85-yard touchdown to give the Bison a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. He is the Division I active leader with three career punt return TDs.
FOURTH QUARTER SUCCESS: North Dakota State held its first five opponents scoreless in the fourth quarter before Missouri State's 11-yard TD pass from Ashton Glaser to Dorian Buford last week. Previously, the last NDSU opponent to score in the fourth quarter was Sam Houston State with a field goal in last year's national championship game. Buford's fourth quarter touchdown was the first allowed by NDSU since Nov. 10 last year in the regular-season win over South Dakota State.
OJURI CLIMBS RUSHING CHART: Senior running back Sam Ojuri has moved into ninth place on North Dakota State's all-time rushing chart with 2,772 yards passing former Bison players Paul Hatchett, Doug Lloyd, Kevin Feeney, Tyler Roehl and Pat Paschall over the first five games of the season. Ojuri needs 66 yards to pass Chad Stark for eighth place. Only five NDSU players have rushed for 3,000 yards in a career with the last being Kyle Steffes, who finished second in school history with 3,952 yards from 2003-06.