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No. 6 Redbirds ready for bout with No. 1 North Dakota State

Written by on October 4, 2019

NORMAL – The No. 6 Illinois State Redbirds (3-1) will play No. 1 North Dakota State Bison (4-0) this Saturday from Hancock Stadium to open Missouri Valley Football Conference play.

ISU Head Coach Brock Spack has a long history with North Dakota State that has not been kind to him, as he has lost his last seven matchups against the Bison, culminating in a 2-7 mark. Spack sees a focus in his team however, that he believes could be a sign of positive change.

“They’ve been very focused. There was very little ‘goofing around’ if you will. Everybody is very stoic and business-like and are asking good questions and are locked in.”

The top ranked Bison already have two wins against ranked FCS opponents this year against No.18 Delaware and No.4 UC Davis, making them look as impressive as ever in their recent reign over the FCS.

“You have to be (focused). You have no chance if you’re not. You have to go into this game ready to play a really good football game. You can’t make mistakes because they turn your mistakes into touchdowns.”

Despite having a tougher start to their season under new Head Coach Matt Entz, NDSU has not missed a step averaging almost 43 points a game and plus 114 point differential.

“They compound your errors, you make a mistake or turn the ball over and, again, they’ll turn it into six points. That’s how they seperate themselves and we’ve had a couple of games like that against them.”

The Redbirds do come into the game as the sixth ranked team for a reason, as they have averaged 217 rush yards per game this season. A style of football that Spack thinks shows the resilience of his team.

“We know how to win. Our players have won a lot here and know what we have to do. I tell our guys, we’re a next play team. We don’t worry about what’s behind us, we worry about what is in front of us.”

In front of the Redbirds is the largest challenge they will face this season and the yearly chance for Brock Spack to take his team to the next level. Kick-off is at 2 p.m. on Saturday from Hancock Stadium, pregame show starts at 1:50 on the Pulse of Redbird Nation 103.3 WZND.