ESPN's College GameDay is changing things up drastically this week, taking to the campus of FCS powerhouse North Dakota State ahead of its showdown with Delaware State on Saturday.
North Dakota State you better sleep now because in 4 days it's time to #GetUp4GameDay!— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) September 17, 2013
The Bison are fresh off of a bye week and should continue rolling along after opening the 2013 season with a huge upset over Kansas State. They are the two-time reigning national champions at their level and have 10 titles overall.
Fargo should be an interesting site for ESPN's renowned pregame broadcast, but the setup will be outside of the famous Fargo Theatre rather than the Fargodome, where fans and tailgaters will be gathered.
There truly aren't a lot of marquee matchups at the highest level of college football this weekend, so it makes sense that ESPN is deciding to use this week as the fourth occasion to highlight an FCS game.
It's a great opportunity to learn more about some of the stars and storylines happening outside the typical national spotlight. Seeing the GameDay gang break it down should do the Bison's story justice.
|Saturday, Sept. 21 at 10 a.m.||Fargo, North Dakota||ESPN|
Brock Jensen Will Shine
This should turn out to be more of a celebration of North Dakota State's prowess than any sort of competitive game.
Bison quarterback Brock Jensen should hurt Delaware State with both his arm and his legs. This should be a relatively easy test Jensen, who drove 80 yards in 18 plays and capped it off with a game-winning touchdown run against Kansas State last week.
Jensen completed 14 out of 15 passes in the second half against the Wildcats.
The Hornets are 0-2 so far and have yielded an average of 45.5 points per game. It also doesn't help that Delaware State has started out playing twice on the road and won't get home until Oct. 5.
Although this will be a good opportunity for exposure for the school, its football program is currently not the greatest, especially on defense.
North Dakota's senior signal-caller has a sure-handed classmate in Ryan Smith, along with the more dynamic Zach Vraa, which should sting the Hornets' secondary throughout this one.
Projected numbers: 25-of-35 passing, 250 yards, 3 TDs; 8 carries, 30 yards
Hornets' Hopes Start and End with Cory Murphy
Sticking with quarterbacks as the main focus here, Delaware State's own senior leader is the only chance the Hornets have to keep this contest respectable.
How close will Delaware State be in Fargo?
In a 49-7 loss to Towson last week, Cory Murphy tied for the team high in rushing with just eight yards after running for 44 yards and throwing for more than 300 yards in the season opener.
The Bison have a defense boasting four preseason All-Missouri Valley Conference selections in defensive linemen Cole Jirik and Leevon Perry, linebacker Grant Olson and cornerback Marcus Williams.
That gives them at least one standout performer at every level with Jirik, Olson and Williams all serving as team captains.
Olson made the game-sealing interception in the Kansas State game, so look for him to read Murphy and for Jirik to get pressure off the edge, forcing Murphy into mistakes.
Projected stats: 20-of-38 passing, 210 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs; 12 carries, 36 yards
North Dakota State Wins in a Rout
Based on the previous breakdown, it isn't hard to figure out the ultimate outcome for this one.
The talent gap will be evident, as the Bison have superior personnel and a far better program overall. This game will showcase North Dakota's dominance at the FCS level in a blatant way.
Murphy should be able to keep some plays alive with his feet, but a severe lack of a running game to support him will not allow the Hornets to move the ball consistently against a rather stout Bison defense.
This is a runaway victory for head coach Craig Bohl, who is set to break a tie with Rocky Hager as the winningest coach in North Dakota State history.
Prediction: North Dakota State 35, Delaware State 7
|Matchup||Time (EDT)||TV/Live Stream|
|No. 3 Clemson at North Carolina State||7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 19||ESPN|
|Boise State at Fresno State||9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20||ESPN|
|Florida A&M at No. 4 Ohio State||12 p.m.||Big Ten Network|
|Florida International at No. 7 Louisville||12 p.m.||ESPN3|
|North Carolina at Georgia Tech||12 p.m.||ESPN|
|San Jose State at Minnesota||12 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Marshall at Virginia Tech||12 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Vanderbilt at Massachusetts||12 p.m.||ESPNEWS|
|Wake Forest at Army||12 p.m.||CBS Sports Network|
|Toledo at Central Michigan||12 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Middle Tennessee at Florida Atlantic||12 p.m.||CSS Sports/ESPN 106.3|
|Western Michigan at Iowa||12 p.m.||Big Ten Network|
|Louisiana Tech at Kansas||12 p.m.||FOX Sports 1|
|North Texas at No. 9 Georgia||12:21 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Pittsburgh at Duke||12:30 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Tulane at Syracuse||12:30 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Ball State at Eastern Michigan||1 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Austin Peay at Ohio||2 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Jacksonville State at Georgia State||2 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Idaho State at No. 17 Washington||3 p.m.||Pac-12 Network|
|Northwestern State at UAB||3 p.m.||UABSports.com|
|Houston vs. Rice||3 p.m. at Reliant Stadium (neutral field)||FOX Sports Network|
|Maine at No. 18 Northwestern||3:30 p.m.||Big Ten Network|
|Tennessee at No. 19 Florida||3:30 p.m.||CBS|
|Michigan State at No. 22 Notre Dame||3:30 p.m.||NBC|
|Purdue at No. 24 Wisconsin||3:30 p.m.||ABC|
|Utah State at USC||3:30 p.m.||ESPN2 & ABC|
|West Virginia at Maryland||3:30 p.m.||ESPNU/Watch ESPN|
|South Dakota State at Nebraska||3:30 p.m.||Big Ten Network|
|Arkansas at Rutgers||3:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Murray State at Bowling Green||3:30 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Kent State at Penn State||3:30 p.m.||Big Ten Network|
|Virginia Military Institute at Virginia||3:30 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Louisiana-Monroe at No. 20 Baylor||4 p.m.||FOX Sports 1|
|Cincinnati at Miami (OH)||4 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Arkansas State at Memphis||4:30 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Bethune-Cookman at No. 8 Florida State||6 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Citadel at Old Dominion||6 p.m.||ODUSports.com|
|Louisiana-Lafayette at Akron||6 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Colorado State at No. 1 Alabama||7 p.m.||ESPN|
|No. 23 Arizona State at No. 5 Stanford||7 p.m.||FOX|
|Southern Methodist at No. 10 Texas A&M||7 p.m.||ESPNU/Watch ESPN|
|Savannah State at No. 16 Miami (FL)||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Texas State at No. 25 Texas Tech||7 p.m.||FOX Sports Network|
|Morgan State at Western Kentucky||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Eastern Illinois at Northern Illinois||7 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Oregon State at San Diego State||7:30 p.m.||CBS Sports Network|
|Troy at Mississippi State||7:30 p.m.||ESPN3|
|Auburn at No. 6 LSU||7:45 p.m.||ESPN|
|No. 15 Michigan at Connecticut||8 p.m.||ABC & ESPN3|
|Missouri at Indiana||8 p.m.||Big Ten Network|
|Kansas State at Texas||8 p.m.||ABC & ESPN3|
|UTSA at UTEP||8 p.m.||FOX College Sports|
|Hawaii at Nevada||8:05 p.m.||ESPN 1420 AM|
|Western Illinois at UNLV||9 p.m.||—|
|Utah at Brigham Young||10:15 p.m.||ESPN2 & Watch ESPN|
|Wyoming at Air Force||10:15 p.m.||ESPNU & Watch ESPN|
|New Mexico State at No. 13 UCLA||10:30 p.m.||Pac-12 Network|
|Idaho at Washington State||10:30 p.m.||Pac-12 Network|
Source: ESPN; all games where date isn't listed are Saturday, Sept. 21