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Jeff Kolpack, Published October 31 2012

Missouri State's schedule full of pitfalls

FARGO – The schedule was something out of a horror movie for Missouri State. The Bears opened the season with road games against Kansas State and Louisville.

If the Division I Bowl Championship Subdivision season ended today, Kansas State would be playing Alabama for a national championship. The Wildcats are No. 2 in the BCS rankings.

Louisville is 8-0 and one of six remaining undefeated teams at the FBS level. The Cardinals are 10th in the BCS rankings.

“Those two teams are

16-0,” said Missouri State head coach Terry Allen. “North Dakota State is a great football team, but those two teams might be a little bit better. That’s a heck of a K-State team.”

The Bears have resurrected their season after an 0-6 start with three straight wins heading into a clash with No. 2-ranked NDSU.

It started with a 17-point fourth-quarter comeback against the University of South Dakota to win 27-24. That was followed with a 24-17 win at nationally ranked Illinois State and everything came together last week in a 42-3 win over Western Illinois.

“We’ve protected the football better and we’ve gained a little confidence,” Allen said.

They’re not turning the ball over despite running a no-huddle offense that NDSU will see for the first time this season. The Bears have settled on sophomore Kierra Harris as their starting quarterback after alternating him with University of Missouri junior transfer Ashton Glaser.

Glaser completed 55 percent of his passes, throwing 12 interceptions against just two touchdowns. Harris has six touchdowns against six interceptions while completing 61 percent of his throws.

“They play with a very high-pace offense,” said Bison middle linebacker Grant Olson. “We’re not used to playing an offense that plays at that high of a tempo, so that’s going to be a shock for us.”

The no-huddle means NDSU will have a tougher time of shifting personnel. The Bison, for instance, like to shuffle their defensive ends and at times like to add an extra defensive back.

“We’re going to have to stay on the field, do our job and get it done,” said NDSU defensive end Kyle Emanuel.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia