(8) Colgate at (1) North Dakota State
When: Saturday, December 8, 11:00 AM CST
Where: Gate City Bank Field at the Fargo Dome
TV/Streaming: ESPN, Watch ESPN
Colgate Raiders (10-1)
FCS Sagarin Rating: 105 (10 in FCS)
How They Got Here: See the game report on how Colgate won its first playoff game against the finalist from the last two seasons, James Madison.
The Raiders defense has been very impressive. Colgate gave up 17 points in their first game of the season to Holy Cross, and then did not allow another touchdown in the next seven games, amassing five shutouts in a six game stretch. Overall, the Raiders have given up an average of just seven–yes seven points per game.
Colgate dominated its entire Patriot League schedule and its only loss was to FBS Army, who is vying for its 10th win at the upper level this week versus Navy. That Army game ended with a final of 28-14.
Key Player This Week: QB Grant Breneman missed the last two regular season games of the season, but was key last week versus James Madison. He finished the 190 yards passing and another 33 yards on the ground with two total touchdowns. The big stat however that he and the offensive line will need to overcome is four sacks. With an NDSU defensive front four that is at worst equal to that of JMU, the key will be having time to throw. Another key for Breneman being the first time in the Fargodome will be able to switch plays when needed as the noise inside can be deafening.
Fantasy Bonus Baby This Week: RB James Holland gained 89 yards against that stingy JMU defense with a touchdown. On the season, he has 1152 yards and 12 scores. Look for Colgate to lean towards the running game in this game and for Holland to see some success.
North Dakota State Bison (12-0)
Fargo, North Dakota
Missouri Valley Football Conference
FCS Sagarin Rating: 24 (1 in FCS)
How They Got Here: See the link below on how NDSU defeated Montana State in the opening round match-up.
The Bison are the top seed for a reason with its unblemished record and have 24 seniors on the team that make this a very veteran team.
NDSU has also been strong on defense like it has typically been in its nine year playoff run. The Bison have given up nearly as impressive to Colgate in giving up just 12 points per game.
The Bison offense, however, has more than complimented the strong defense in scoring over 42 points per game.
NDSU has won now 18 games in a row dating back to last year and its playoff run to the 2017 national title.
Key Player This week: QB Easton Stick had a remarkable week this week after being the runner-up for the William V. Campbell Trophy that goes to college football’s best scholar-athlete. Stick will be the key against the Colgate defense to make the correct reads at the line and put the Bison in the right play. He has proven to do this in the past but at least statistically, the Raiders are the toughest defense he and the NDSU offense will play this year so the key will be to find the right play against this defense.
Fantasy Bonus Baby This Week: RB Lance Dunn rushed for playoff tying four touchdowns in last week’s win over Montana State. The Bison will be in a running mode with Dunn, Bruce Anderson, and Ty Brooks will all get their share of carries and should all have good games and should all get a chance to get in the end zone.
Jamie: Colgate forced 5 turnovers last week and beat James Madison on a last second field goal. The Bison wont turn the ball over and Colgate’s season ends in the FargoDome this weekend. North Dakota State 41, Colgate 10
Kent: The Bison are 2-0 all-time against Patriot League foes in its history. Colgate getting the win over Bison nemesis JMU last week undoubtedly has the attention of the Bison coaches and players alike. While Colgate brings in a strong defense, the Bison offense will be the best it has faced all year and the Fargodome crowd will cause havoc on the Colgate offense. North Dakota State 31 Colgate 7
Chuck: The Raiders’ magical run through 2018 has been thrilling to watch, but it likely comes to an end at the Fargodome, where Colgate will face off against its toughest challenge of the year. To have a chance they will have win the turnover battle and convert when they get opportunities, but I think it won’t be enough. North Dakota State 27, Colgate 10