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Kevin Schnepf, Published October 20 2012

Schnepf: USD head coach applauds NDSU's defensive showing

Sioux Falls, S.D. - Joe Glenn once graced the cover of Sporting News. The national magazine proclaimed him as “the next big thing in college football.”

That was seven years ago when Glenn was on the top of his coaching career at Wyoming, winning three national championships at Northern Colorado and Montana.

That was a distant memory for Glenn on Saturday night when his University of South Dakota football team ran into the next big thing in college football: North Dakota State’s defense.

“It doesn’t get much better than this,” Glenn said, pointing to the statistics of NDSU’s dominating 54-0 shellacking.

No, it certainly doesn’t get much better when a defense limits an opponent to 76 total yards and four first downs. It was the defense’s best showing this season, topping the season opener when Robert Morris totaled 88 yards and five first downs.

It was the first shutout recorded by an NDSU defense during its 36-game history in the Missouri Valley Conference.

It was a defense ranked No. 1 in four categories nationally that didn’t allow the Coyotes into Bison territory until late in the third quarter. And that lasted only one play when Grant Olson sacked quarterback Josh Vander Maten on the other side of midfield.

It is a defense, so quick and so fast, that would have sacked the red-caped streaker long before he had a chance to entertain the Howard Wood Field crowd of 9.269 during the first quarter.

“Right now, we’re probably as good as any defense we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Craig Bohl, in his 10th season as NDSU’s head coach.

This defense is the reason there was no reason to panic after last week’s 17-14 loss to Indiana State – NDSU’s first of the season. It was the defense that gave up only three points in that game in which two Brock Jensen interceptions were returned for touchdowns.

That Indiana State defense may be one of the few that is as good as NDSU’s.

“I go against them in the spring and the fall and I can tell you right now, it’s not very much fun,” said Jensen. “There’s not too many weaknesses there. They swarm to the ball. They are just a tough bunch of guys. I’m just glad they are on our side.”

But when you’re on the other side, it leaves coaches scratching their heads. Glenn couldn’t figure out what to do. Nor could his offensive coordinator Wes Beschorner, who happens to be the brother-in-law of Bison wide receiver Ryan Smith.

“He tried everything,” Glenn said, referring to Beschorner. “We just couldn’t compete with them. In a game like this, you learn where you are at as a program and start recruiting harder.”

Glenn’s been in this position before. It took him 12 games as a USD quarterback and the Northern Colorado head coach before he finally beat the Bison: a 23-14 win in 1991.

Glenn remembers it well.

“During the postgame radio show, I invited everybody to my backyard for free beer,” Glenn said. “You know … North Dakota State has been out in front of everybody before and people have caught them. That’s the goal. They are the team and people in this league better realize that’s what we all have to shoot for.”

That and figuring out a way to beat that defense.

Readers can reach Forum Sports Editor Kevin Schnepf at (701) 241-5549 or kschnepf@forumcomm.com. Schnepf’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com