Game Time: Saturday, December 9, 2017, 12 p.m. ET
Where To Watch: ESPN2
Location: FargoDome, Fargo, North Dakota
Betting Odds: North Dakota State -20, O/U 42
Odds via sportsbooks monitored by GamblersPalace.com
The FargoDome has not been a welcoming place for opponents during North Dakota State’s incredible run. The Bison are 20-1 playing there in the postseason with the lone loss coming last year against eventual national champion James Madison. The Wofford Terriers will try to be just the second team to win a postseason game there this Saturday.
Reasons to Like North Dakota State
The Bison are an institution at this point. North Dakota State won five straight FCS Championships before being dropped by James Madison in the Semifinals last year and look set to square off against the Dukes again this year for all the marbles.
This defense has been great all year long. Last week, they completely shut down San Diego’s potent offense and didn’t allow the Toreros to score until the game was already well out of hand.
North Dakota State is first in the nation in total defense, allowing just 232.6 yards per game this season. The Bison run defense and pass defense are both in the top ten and the front seven has something to prove now that it’s mostly healthy.
Reasons Not to Like North Dakota State
Although the Bison were able to rack up big yardage totals on the ground last week, they struggled to pick up the tough yards down the stretch in the regular season following the season-ending injury of Lance Dunn.
Dunn was by far the best running back on the roster and was averaging almost eight yards per carry. He was the one back they had that could get the tough yards in between the tackles, while being explosive enough to break long gains.
Now, the Bison are running an inside-outside system with Bruce Anderson and Ty Brooks. Brooks is the lightning quick playmaker that will attack the edges, while Anderson is the bruiser. Neither one was the star that Dunn was though and that hurts.
Reasons to Like Wofford
For an option team, the Terriers are a rarity. Wofford has a quarterback that can throw the ball a little bit in Brandon Goodson. Goodson has been able to keep defenses honest by dropping back to throw nine or ten times a game and has punished the opposition more often than not. He has completed 55 percent of his passes and is averaging over 10 yards a throw on the year.
Wofford also has a knack for keeping games close. The Terriers have not been blown out in the postseason during Mike Ayers’ three decade tenure. Wofford has not lost a postseason game by more than 15 points and went to double overtime before falling to runners-up Youngstown State in last year’s playoffs.
Reasons Not to Like Wofford
The Terriers run the triple option and if they fall behind early, it could be a long day. Goodson is a decent passer, but only when there is a threat of running the ball and is not the type to consistently drop back and make throws.
Wofford has not been great against the pass either. The Terriers are outside of the top 50 in pass defense and Easton Stick has shown he can make defenses pay with his arm this season. Wofford got torched by Devlin Hodges in its one loss to an FCS team earlier this year and can be beat through the air.
This spread is too high. Wofford has a very good run defense and has proven time and again it can play up to the level of its opponent. North Dakota State will get the win, but Wofford will keep it close.
Final Score: North Dakota State 24, Wofford 13