Vikings-Packers back in Week 2 of the NFL season was huge. It was the first regular season game at U.S. Bank Stadium and the debut of Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford, but even that monstrosity of a game pales in comparison to the border battle taking place in Fargo Saturday.
Gophers-Hawkeyes? No. Badgers-Gophers? Not a chance. Wild-Jets? Not bad, but not this good.
We're talking about North Dakota State versus South Dakota State. And this is as big as it gets for these rivals. But it's far more valuable than simple revenge.
The winner of Saturday's FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) playoff game will advance to the national semifinals, putting one of these Dakota teams just two wins from a national championship.
"They've been here, done that," SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier said this week, via Yahoo Sports. "The fact that we beat them during the regular season doesn't matter to them. They're the No. 1 seed for a reason, we have to go to their place for a reason. We need to play our best football."
NDSU has been here before, having ended SDSU's season in the NCAA second round in 2012 and 2014. But this is the first time they've been here after SDSU beat them in the regular season.
SDSU upset the Bison in the Fargodome 19-17 on Oct. 15 on a last-second touchdown pass.
Literally, a last-second TD.
And while NDSU head coach Chris Klieman is on record saying revenge isn't a factor, SDSU appears to be leaning hard on old feelings from the crippling 2014 playoff loss when the Bison scored the winning touchdown with 54 seconds to play.
"That was the hardest thing. I know we don't want that feeling again," SDSU linebacker Jesse Bobbit told HERO Sports. "And honestly, it was two years ago but it's pretty fresh. I can still remember exactly how that felt. We don't want that to happen again."
Things to know
- NDSU is the No. 1 overall seed.
- SDSU is the 8-seed.
- SDSU racked up 523 yards of offense at NDSU Oct. 15.
- This is SDSU's first ever appearance on ESPN, according to the Argus Leader.
- Winner advances to play James Madison or Sam Houston State next week.
- SDSU freshman kicker Chase Vinatieri is the nephew of NFL kicker Adam Vinatieri
- NDSU is 17-0 at the Fargodome in FCS playoff games
- NDSU has won 13 of the last 15 games against SDSU
- 106th all time meeting between the two schools
- Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. Saturday
Jacks. Bison. Round Two.
— SDSU Football (@GoJacksFB) December 7, 2016