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The Murray State News

PREVIEW: Racers head north to face North Dakota State

Rebeca Mertins Chiodini
Sophomore quarterback DJ Williams shoves off a defender.

Murray State’s football team carries a three-game-losing streak into the Fargodome in Fargo, North Dakota as the Racers take on the North Dakota State Bison this week.


Setting the record straight

Murray State has lost three games in a row heading into the matchup, with its most recent loss coming against Missouri State last weekend. The Bears defeated the Racers 28-24 in a back-and-forth battle. The Racers are 2-5 overall this season and 1-3 in conference play.

North Dakota State comes in ranked 11th in the country in FCS football, moving up four spots from last week’s rankings, but down from their No. 2 ranking to start the season. The Bison are 5-2 overall and 2-2 in conference. They won their last game 52-7 against Western Illinois.

The Racers are 0-2 against ranked opponents this season, while the Bison are 0-1 against ranked opponents.

History shows that the Bison are a force to be reckoned with as they have won nine national championships since 2011, with their last being in 2021.


Keys to the game

The weather outside will be around 34 degrees for the game, but the Bison play in the Fargodome, so the weather won’t be a factor during the game. But before the game, those not used to elements may be a little cold come kickoff.

Passing worked for the Racers against Missouri State, but rushing has worked for them in other games. Against the Bison, it could be hard to get the offense going as the Bison allow 129 rushing yards per game and 174 passing yards per game.

But to keep up against a team that has over 3,300 yards on offense this season, teams have to get both the rushing and passing attack going. If a team can’t slow the opponent down, they have to match them on offense.

For the Bison, the rushing attack has been one key to success for the season. NDSU rushers have combined for 1,856 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2023, a number hard for most teams to match.


Players to watch

Sophomore tight end Cole Rusk, a transfer from Eastern Michigan University, leads the Racers in receptions and receiving yards through seven games this season. Add on three touchdowns and he has become a go-to target for sophomore quarterback DJ Williams.

Two players stand at over 300 yards rushing for the Bison this season, both of whom have had 60 carries each. Senior running back TaMerik Williams leads all rushers with 338 yards and has two touchdowns, while senior quarterback Cam Miller has rushed for 333 yards and a team high seven touchdowns. The rushing offense is deadly for the Bison and with the Racers giving up 200 rushing yards per game, the end zone may become home for the Bison.


Where to watch

The Racers take on the Bison at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 28. Fans at home can watch the game on ESPN+.

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About the Contributors
Jakob Milani
Jakob Milani, Sports Editor
Jakob Milani is all about sports. He joined the staff of The Murray State News in 2020 as a sports writer, assigned to women's basketball, and by fall 2021 was named Sports Editor. He is a dedicated lover of all things Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears related, and loves to talk about all things sports. He is a co-host of "The Iron Grid" podcast with fellow sports writer Ronan Summers, and only ever watches ESPN in his down time. Aside from sports, Jakob also has a passion for music and baking. His favorite artists include Nirvana, Travis Scott, and Queen. His favorite item to bake is cheesecake.
Rebeca Mertins Chiodini
Rebeca Mertins Chiodini, Photography Editor
Rebeca Mertins Chiodini began photographing for The News in fall 2022 and began Photo Editor in 2023. She loves to photograph all things sports, but especially baseball. A journalism major, she minors in Spanish and Photography.

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