Coming off their first loss of the season, the fourth ranked Bobcats (6-1, 3-1) look to bounce back as Big Sky Conference newcomer University of North Dakota (UND) (4-4, 2-3) visits this Saturday. The bye week gave the Cats a long time to think about their loss to Eastern Washington, but UND will be the perfect opportunity for Denarius McGhee and the Cats to reassert themselves.
UND is coming off a win against the Grizzlies, and already have a reputation for putting points on the board. They average 37.4 points per game, but their defense gives up 33.5 points per game, which should play into Coach Rob Ash’s hands. The real question is will the Cats’ run game show up?
After gaining just 70 yards on 52 rushing attempts against EWU, it will be essential that Ash establishes the run game against UND’s poor rush defense. UND allows an average 220.5 yards rushing per game, so look for the Cats to run early and often, and expect McGhee to make things happen with his legs.
UND is more known for its high-flying aerial attack featuring the arm of quarterback Braden Hanson and hands of wide receiver Greg Hardin. Hanson was named the National Offensive Player of the Week by NCAA.com and Hardin was named the College Football Performance Awards National Performer of the Week and picked up his second National Wide Receiver of the Week honor after their performance against the Grizzlies.
The defensive backs will have their hands full with the Hanson-Hardin connection, but the Cats’ rush defensive should be able to take some of the pressure off. MSU allows just 70 yards rushing per game. Expect UND to take to the air, allowing the Cats to drop defensive personnel back off the line of scrimmage.
As long as MSU can avoid the miscues that cost them 24 points against EWU and run the ball effectively, the Cats should bounce back and win at home. UND visits Saturday, Oct. 27 and the game starts at 2:05 p.m. in Bobcat Stadium.