Bison expecting heavy dose of Montana State quarterback
FARGO -- It didn’t take the North Dakota State defense long to realize who runs the show at Montana State. There are times when it’s Troy Andersen right, Troy Andersen left and Troy Andersen up the middle.
The Bison will most likely see plenty of the Bobcats’ sophomore quarterback Saturday, Dec. 1, when they host MSU Saturday afternoon at 2 at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Andersen is the team’s leading rusher with 1,283 yards averaging 7.0 yards per carry.
“He’s a big dude who can run you over and run around you,” said Bison defensive tackle Blake Williams. “He’s fast, really athletic and we have to have a game plan that’s going to try and contain him.”
Incarnate Word (Texas) did OK at that in the FCS first round limiting Andersen to 84 yards on 21 carries. But Andersen hurt the Cardinals through the air completing 12 of 19 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown in the 35-14 Montana State victory.
“It’s insane how much they use him and how athletic he is,” said Bison linebacker Dan Marlette.
His running ability brought comparisons this week to former University of South Dakota quarterback Chris Streveler, who was a finalist last season for the Walter Payton Award that goes to the best offensive player in the FCS.
Streveler, a senior last season, played with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL this year.
“There were times you would get in the gap, Streveler would come right at you, you think you’re going to make this easy tackle and he runs right through you for two more yards,” Williams said. “You make the tackle but you’re on your back. Both of them are alike in that sense.”
Andersen, a running back last season who started this year as a linebacker, took over at quarterback four games into the season.
“He runs a lot like Streveler, I don’t know about throwing as much but I think that’s just how their offense is,” said Bison safety James Hendricks. “They don’t throw it as much as USD did. But he’s a pretty physical dude and it’s pretty remarkable what he’s done.”
Redshirt rule implications dwindling
The number of decisions NDSU has to make in regards to the new NCAA four-game eligibility rule is dwindling to perhaps just running back Seth Wilson and receiver Dimitri Williams. Wilson saw his first action at Missouri State on Nov. 10, but did not play in the last regular season game against Southern Illinois.
The new stipulation allows players who haven’t redshirted to play up to four games without losing a year of eligibility. The sophomore Wilson played as a true freshman.
“Seth is in the forefront of our game plan,” said Bison head coach Chris Klieman.
The senior Williams, who played as a true freshman, is most valuable on special teams. He’s played three games and Klieman indicated he won’t be part of the rotation this week.
Around the Valley
-- The Missouri Valley Football Conference is 53-23 in the FCS playoffs since 2010, best of any league in the subdivision. The Valley is 34-16 over the last four years, which includes seven games that matched conference foes. That means the Valley went 27-9 against other conferences.
-- NDSU landed five players on the all-Missouri Valley Football Conference academic team in a vote of the league’s sports information directors. Tight end Ben Ellefson (3.94, physical education/sport management), quarterback Easton Stick (3.92, sport management; 4.0, MBA) and defensive end Greg Menard (3.85, civil engineering) were named to the first team. Safety Robbie Grimsley (3.51, criminal justice) and wide receiver Darrius Shepherd (3.59, university studies) were named to the second team.
-- The NDSU Student-Athlete Advisory Council is beginning its fourth annual toy drive on Saturday at the dome prior to the NDSU and MSU kickoff. SAAC representatives will be accepting new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations at the west tailgating lot and the west entrance to the arena. All donations will support the Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley, which supports families whose children are receiving medical care in the Fargo-Moorhead area.