UND finishes off its 2010 season with a trip to Brookings, SD to take on the Jackrabbits from South Dakota State.Â This is UND’s first trip to Brookings since the 2003 thriller that UND won 25-24.Â SDSU enters the game at 4-6.
Sioux Offense vs SDSU Defense
SDSU plays a 4-3 up front with a 2 deep shell over the top.Â They will play the Tampa 2 scheme from time to time and will also play quarters.Â They also aren’t afraid to roll down an 8th man to the box to stop the run and to bring pressure on the passing game.Â #7 Corey Jeske leads this defensive secondary unit from the safety spot.Â #39 Derek Domino leads the team in tackles from the linebacker position.Â This defense is coming off a good performance against NDSU in which they only allowed 276 total yards, with only 100 of that coming through the air.Â The problem was their QBÂ threw two interceptions for TD’s so it appeared the defense gave up more than they did.
The biggest variable for the UND offense as shown last week against Montana, is the play of the QB position.Â Both Marcus Hendrickson and Brent Goska were ineffective last week and the offense struggled to score because of it.Â Having said that, the offensive line did a good job opening up holes for the running game.Â They will need to be able to count on the run again this week to take the pressure off the QB position.Â The “Hogs” also gave the QB’s plenty of time to throw in the pocket.Â Once again, we expect Goska to get the start to try get the offense in a groove early.Â Hendrickson will probably also play at some point in the game.
Conventional wisdom tells us that the offense will be conservative again because of the QB position.Â However, we wouldn’t be surprised to see UND lay it all out on the line and be the aggressor.Â Last game of the season for both teams with nothing to lose.Â Some “wrinkles” in the play calling could be a way to keep SDSU off balance on defense.
No matter what, UND has to be able to get the ball to Greg Hardin in some manner.Â He cannot be a non-factor again.Â It doesn’t even have to be a huge game for him, just enough to make the SDSU defense pay attention to him.Â RJ McGill continued his maturation process on the field last week and is becoming more involved in the short passing game as well.Â As always, Josh Murray and Mitch Sutton will need to run the ball effectively.Â We expect both of them to be involved in the passing game via quick passes to take some pressure off the QB’s.
Sioux Defense vs SDSU Offense
The loss of Kyle Minett is a huge blow to the SDSU offense for this game.Â He was their workhorse on offense with 1,208 yards rushing and 12 TDâ€™s.Â Their next leading rusher is Tyler Duffy with 338 yards on the year.Â Even though Minett is out we do not see Coach Stiegelmeier getting away from his longtime offensive philosophy of pounding the ball down your throat and wearing a team down.Â They have an aggressive, physical offensive line once again this year and we feel they will want to prove they can run the same plays no matter who is in their at RB.Â We expect to see a lot more Wildcat formation this week being their passing game with QB Thomas Oâ€™Brien has been fairly weak this season.Â Oâ€™Brein has a TD/INT ratio of 10/15 and we do not seem him being a difference maker in this game.Â Â WR Tyrone Kool is O’Briens main target by far with 58 catches for 703 yards and 2 TD’s.Â When they do decide to pass they will try to get it to Kool.
We are envisioning a very aggressive UND defense this week.Â Being SDSU is a ball control offense we don’t forsee any exotic blitzes but we do see the Sioux bringing 5-7 guys at any time.Â Formations are what dictate how much pressure a team can bring and if SDSU wants to play a TE and FB in the game then we see the Sioux bringing a host of guys against those Pro-Style formations.Â We are basing our opinion off of history but that history has shown us what the Sioux will do.
With the cold weather and possible wind, we are seeing a whole lot of running game coming from the Jacks in this one.Â Itâ€™s the last game of the year and both teams seasons are ending after the game.Â It wonâ€™t quite be Army vs. Navy but both sides will be running the ball due to the reasons explained above, especially the respective QB situations.Â It will be O-line vs. D-line and 3-4 vs. 4-3.Â Should be a good one down at Coughlin-Alumni on Saturday.
This has been the most consistent phase of the game for the Sioux all season and has kept them in some games that otherwise would have been out of reach.Â Can Brett Cameron keep pinning teams inside the 20?Â The return game needs to be effective like it was in Missoula last weekend.Â Field position will be huge.Â Because the offenses and defenses are so similar we are banking on Special Teams to decide the outcome of this one.
The Sioux have won their last game of the year the last two seasons.Â Both were on the road against solid opponents (USD and Central Arkansas).Â This situation is set up about the exact same as those.Â If the Sioux can get anything from their passing game when it is called upon, they have a legit chance at winning this game.Â Both teams have Seniors playing the last game of their careers.