The Fighting Sioux host Division 2 transition school Sioux Falls this weekend in a rematch of the 2009 game in which the Cougars came to the Alerus and took home a victory. USF has a variety of Division 1 and 2 transfers on their roster and are a talented bunch who are used to winning football games. Saturday’s kickoff at The Alerus is slated for 1 pm CST.
UND Defense vs. Sioux Falls Offense
Sioux Falls runs a multiple/balanced offense where they seem to be out of the shotgun/pistol most of the time to use the athleticism of their QB to their advantage. They are averaging 34 pts/game and 360 yds/game on the 2011 season. Sioux Falls is about as balanced as it gets on offense. They average 181 yds/game rushing and 179 yds/game passing. The negative’s of the SF offense are that they have lost 8 fumbles on the year and also are only 41% on third down. The UND defense has been pretty good on third down this season so it could be one area where the Sioux should excel.
The Cougars are led by QB #7 Taylor Perkins. He has been starting the last few games and taking most the snaps. On the year he is 43-81 for 621 yards and 9 TD’s vs. 3 INT’s. He is a dual threat type of QB as he has 250 yards rushing on 34 carries and 2 TD’s. They like to run him on draw’s, etc. out of the shotgun/pistol. #2 Carrington Hanna will come in to the game also to give the Cougars a little different look.
The Sioux are going to need to stop RB #9 Jordan Taylor. He is the horse in this offense 668 yards rushing and 4 TD’s. Taylor is around 215 pounds making him one of the bigger backs the Sioux will face this season.
The top receiving threats are #6 Michael Hicks and #10 Jeremiah Oates. Hicks has 24 catches for 407 yards and 3 TD’s while Oates has 22 catches for 299 yards and 8 TD’s. Oates (6’3”-180) is the bigger, more physical receiver of the two and is a definite red zone threat.
Sioux Falls is a talented team that will bring some offensive threats with them to the Alerus Center. The Sioux defense is going to have to be assignment sharp to make they line up correct and execute against this multiple offense. If Devin Benjamin is able to go (we noticed he was not in much during the UNC game) that will help greatly vs. the run. The defensive backs need to have a good game this week as they had one their worst games of the year last week vs. UNC.
UND Offense vs. Sioux Falls Defense
We haven’t had a chance to see a whole lot of Sioux Falls, but we do know they run the 3-4 defense. They gave the UND offense problems in 2009 in a variety of areas. They seem to like to bring secondary pressures more than UND does in their 3-4 defense. Safeties and corners will come off the edge from time to time and the UND offensive line, running backs and QB need to recognize that and make the proper checks prior to the snap to avoid big-play sacks and fumbles.
The UND offense should be able to move the ball at will on the ground game against the USF defensive front. While they are no doubt a talented group on the defensive front, the UND o-line has come a long ways since their last meeting and I would be surprised if UND can’t move the ball on the ground, even against stacked boxes. We don’t see UND doing anything flashy except gaining control of the game and time of possession early by controlling the line of scrimmage, similarly to what they did last week with 45 minutes of possession against UNC.
A short and intermediate passing game will probably be sprinkled in to get Brent Goska confident early on. It may be a boring offense to watch on Saturday, but efficiency will probably be the goal of the day for the Sioux offense. Running back depth will probably be used more this week bumps and bruises being accumulated last week in the backfield.
RJ McGill did not play last week and we will be interested to see if he’s available this week. He definitely is a difference maker for both receiving and blocking in the short passing game. We are still waiting for TE Seth Nichols to have his breakout game on the hashes. Hopefully he can present some matchup problems this week.
UND and USF are both different teams than the teams that took the field in 2009. UND has become a better team, while USF is probably feeling the effects of being in transition like UND did in 2009. Having said that, we would be extremely disappointed if UND doesn’t grab control of this game early and march it down the field with their 1st possession and take off 6 minutes of the clock to put points on the board. They need to set the tone early.
Defensively, the Sioux secondary needs to stop underachieving and giving up the big play. What happened last week at UNC is unacceptable. Hopefully they are angry and respond well this week.
Once again, special teams will be huge for UND.