Eagles prepare to take on Bison

Trevor McNaboe

Friday night under the lights of the Fargo Dome Georgia Southern University will finally match up against North Dakota State University in a game that’s been one year in the making.

GSU is making their third consecutive trip to the semifinals of the FCS playoffs and having lost last year on the road against you guessed it, NDSU.

The Eagles are no strangers to the bright lights as this week will be the second straight week that GSU will be on national television this time on ESPN2 in the prime time spot at 8 p.m.

Last week in the quarterfinals, GSU took on Old Dominion University on ESPN and defeated the monarchs after withstanding Walter Payton Award finalist Taylor Heinicke’s passing assault to the tune of 421 yards through the air and advanced by a score of 49-35.

This week they will be taking on top ranked (12-1) NDSU on the road just like last year. The Bison punched their ticket to the semifinals after defeating Wofford College in a defensive showdown by a score of 14-7.

This matchup will put to the test the old paradox, “What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?” as GSU boast one of the nations most potent and explosive offenses, while NDSU prides itself on it’s rock solid defense.

Players to watch for on GSU:

Junior quarterback Jerick McKinnon is coming off of a clutch 171 yard rushing and four touchdown scoring performance against no.4 ODU, he is the leading rusher on the team with 1649 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns.

Sophomore b-back Dominique Swope is looking to build off of last week’s game after he rushed for 186 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. Last year against the Bison Swope rushed for 96 and one score.

Players to watch for on NDSU:

Junior linebacker Grant Olson has been the defensive leader of the Bison coming off a career best 29 tackles against Wofford. On the season Olson has 137 tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss both are best on the team.

Junior quarterback Brock Jensen has been the Bison offense totaling 25 touchdowns. He has thrown for 2140 yards and rushed for 255 yards. Last year against GSU he threw for 137 yards and ran for 94 yards while scoring twice.

Matchup to watch:

GSU is coming off a 602 rushing yard performance is averaging north of 400 yards per game on the ground. They will meet NDSU who allows only 78.5 yards a game and only three scores on the ground.

If GSU cannot get the offense going there could be problems for the Eagles, however if they can establish the run there is a good possibility GSU will be going to Frisco for a chance at a seventh national title.