We'll have our regular stats column up this afternoon, but I came across one that was too good to hold. If you ever want to assess the relative strength of the North Dakota State defense in comparison with Nebraska's, the last two weeks provided a perfect opportunity.
On September 21, South Dakota State traveled to Lincoln and put up 465 yards of total offense on the Huskers. The Jackrabbits rushed 38 times for 227 yards (six yards per carry) and two touchdowns, and connected on 19-of-29 passes for 238 yards (8.2 yards per attempt) with no touchdowns and two interceptions. They achieved 25 first downs and took a 17-14 lead through one quarter before succumbing to a 56-20 defeat.
One week later....
South Dakota State returned home to Brookings to face No. 1 North Dakota State, and ran into a brick wall. The Jackrabbits produced just 124 yards of total offense, including mins-32 on the ground. It was a nightmare day for quarterback Austin Sumner, who saw his quarterback rating drop by 25 percent from one week to the next in completing only 14-of-30 passes for 156 yards. He was also sacked seven times and was credited with 10 rushes for minus-32 yards. Running back Zach Zenner didn't fare much better, rushing eight times for a whopping four yards. The Jackrabbits accumulated only nine first downs and were 1-for-12 on third down. North Dakota State won the game, 20-0.
The good news for South Dakota State is that the sledding gets easier from here with 2-3 Southern Illinois coming to town. Although as the Jackrabbits look forward, they have to be asking themselves exactly which of their two previous opponents deserves to find itself ranked in the FBS Coaches' Poll today.