The Illinois State Redbirds will host the North Dakota State Bison at Hancock Stadium on Saturday in each team’s first Missouri Valley Football Conference test of the season.
The game (1 p.m. ET start time) won’t be on regular TV anywhere, but you can watch it live right here on ESPN+, the digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage of dozens of college football games and other live sports every week, all the 30-for-30 documentaries and additional original content (both video and written) all for $4.99 per month.
You can sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch NDSU vs Illinois State live on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
North Dakota State vs Illinois State Preview
The Bison enter conference play with four victories in as many tries, outscoring opponents 169-55.
They haven’t played since two Saturdays ago, when they bested the UC Davis Aggies 27-16 at home in their tightest test of the season.
“Four games, have eight more, it’s a little bit longer season than normal,” NDSU head coach Matt Entz said, according to the Grand Forks Herald. “We’re getting into the meat and potatoes of our schedule. As I mentioned before, we need to identify another three, four guys that can help us down the road. Not every game, but where are there four games where they can still help us? We still have some really quality young men we haven’t played yet that can give us some valuable snaps.”
The Bison defense has been impressive in limiting opponents in the red zone, surrendering just three touchdowns in their foes’ eight trips across their 20-yard line.
“It’s a critical part of the game and for us to hold people to field goals is big,” Entz said, per the Grand Forks Herald. “One, it takes away a little bit of the momentum and it can frustrate them as well when making trip after trip but you can’t seem to get it in the end zone.”
On Saturday, Entz’s defense will be tasked with slowing a Redbirds offense that’s put up 103 points across their last three contests, all victories.
Illinois State is also coming off a bye week. Their last time out, junior quarterback Brady Davis completed 22 of 33 passes for a career-high 419 yards, throwing a pair of touchdowns and an interception in a 40-27 win that improved the Redbirds’ record to 3-1.
“You can see a year of confidence under his belt,” Entz said of Davis, per the Grand Forks Herald. “To come out and throw against Northern Arizona and really to throw it around the yard like he did and as efficiently was impressive. That was something that probably wasn’t there as much a year ago. They were probably more one-dimensional and so he’s added another key thing you have to take away.”
The Bison, who’ve won seven of the last eight FCS national titles, have topped the Redbirds in seven consecutive meetings.
“You have to go into this game ready to play a good football game,” Illinois State head coach Brock Spack said, according to The Pantagraph. “You can’t make mistakes. They turn your mistakes into touchdowns and you can’t do that.”