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NDSU have evaded serious injuries against FBS foes
They wear you down more than they knock you out of the game.
That’s the consensus of Missouri Valley Football Conference head coaches when it comes to injuries in games against Division I Football Bowl Subdivision opponents. North Dakota State heads back into the land of the bigger Big Ten Conference Saturday night at the University of Minnesota.
So far, the Bison have been fortunate in the injury department against the Gophers. And, for the most part, the Bison have gotten through their FBS games in decent shape reporting only minor injuries.
An analysis of the Bison’s injury report, albeit not official and only using reported facts, shows some strains and sprains – but that’s about it.
Only one, an ACL tear to fullback Tyler Jangula, could be classified as significant. It came in NDSU’s first-ever FBS game in 2006 at Ball State (Ind.).
Jangula did not leave without a shot of glory, however. He scored on the play and NDSU went on to an upset victory against the Mid-American Conference foe.
“I think it depends on what type of FBS team you’re playing,” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl. “In the days I was at Nebraska, we were a downhill overpowering team. I remember guys being carted off.
“Today, teams are more sophisticated and throw the ball around more. You’re always guarded because of the size and speed, but we’ve had guys hurt in games where we’ve been bigger and stronger.”
Other Missouri Valley schools have essentially the same story.
“If you play a real physical team, they can damage you for a couple of weeks,” said Illinois State head coach Brock Spack. “It makes for a hard time for recovery. But we’ve come out of those games my first two years pretty healthy.”
South Dakota State head coach John Stiegelmeier, whose team was bumped at the University of Illinois last week 56-3, said his program has not seen more injures against FBS teams.
Neither has Indiana State head coach Trent Miles, whose team before last year was absent in the physical ability department. He reports some ankle sprains and bumps and bruises.
“They can happen whether you’re playing a Division III school or a big-time school,” Miles said. “It just works that way.”
Southern Illinois lost standout safety Mike McElroy last year at Illinois. But in Dale Lennon’s first year with the Salukis, they came out of the Northwestern game completely healthy.
Last week, the Salukis had just a couple of minor injuries in a 42-24 loss at Mississippi.
“It’s not any different than playing a highly competitive FCS team where you know you’re going to be in for a physical game,” Lennon said. “It depends on the nature of the game sometimes.”
Perhaps the best sampling is from Western Illinois head coach Mark Hendrickson, who has been at the school for 13 seasons. The Leathernecks have played a major opponent every season.
“I have not seen any difference,” he said.
By: Jeff Kolpack, INFORUM