The North Dakota State Bison (5-0, 2-0 MVFC) will head to Hancock Stadium in Normal to face the Illinois State Redbirds (2-3, 0-2 MVFC) on Saturday, October 16.
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The game (3 p.m. ET start time) will be televised locally on ABC North Dakota and Marquee SN, but anyone in the US can also watch North Dakota State vs Illinois State live on ESPN+:
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Once signed up for ESPN+, you can watch North Dakota State vs Illinois State live on the ESPN app on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4 or 5, Xbox One or Series X/S, any device with Android TV (such as a Sony TV or Nvidia Shield), Samsung Smart TV, Oculus Go, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet.
You can also watch on your computer via ESPN.com.
North Dakota State vs Illinois State Preview
North Dakota State is coming off a 34-20 win over Northern Iowa last weekend. NDSU quarterback Quincy Patterson II went 11-21 for 182 yards and two passing touchdowns, and he added 12 carries for 60 yards and two scores on the ground in the victory.
NDSU is putting up 35.4 points a game on offense, and it has been holding opponents to 8.6 points a game on defense, which is tops in the FCS. They’ll be going up against an Illinois State squad that has been scoring 23.4 points a game, while allowing 27.0 points per contest as a unit on defense.
“They’re a big physical football team,” NDSU head coach Matt Entz said about Illinois State’s defense, per 247 Sports. “It’s as big of a challenge, just because of the physicality. I think a majority of our league now plays an odd-front or structure, so it’s good for us. You stack these games on top of each other and it just gives our kids more experience and looks, which is huge for us because we continue to get better with the more we see.”
Illinois State is coming off a 41-20 loss to Missouri State on October 2. It was the team’s second loss in a row, and it just had a bye week, which may have come at a good time. The Redbirds have relied heavily on the run, averaging 150.6 yards per game and 4.2 yards per rush on the season. While North Dakota State is the clear favorite here, it is not about to overlook Illinois State at all.
“From the small population of plays that I’ve watched, they’re doing what Illinois State has done over the course of the last few years,” Entz added. “They want to run the football, they’re going to get into 2-back, 2-tight end, big personnel groupings and play really good defense alongside of it. The product is there, their record probably isn’t what they want. … Having two weeks to prepare for us, I’m sure they’ll be ready for us.”
One noteworthy addition: The Redbirds will have a new starter at cornerback in Franky West, who was elevated from walk-on to scholarship status before getting moved from second to first string defense. It’s quite the journey for the recent community college graduate.
“He’s made some plays. He tackles pretty well and he’s a good athlete,” ISU coach Brock Spack said about West. “He’s got a great personality and he’s really smart. He works hard and practices hard. He does everything we ask him to do.”