#1 North Dakota State FCS Football 2022 Preview

North Dakota State Bison
Overall Rank: #1
#1 Missouri Valley
 North Dakota State Logo
North Dakota State has won the national title once again. The Bison cruised past Southern Illinois, East Tennessee State, James Madison and Montana State. During those four games in the playoffs, NDSU allowed just 34 points. The offense ranked in the top 20 in the FCS too. With the amount of talent returning and some more coming in, this is again the team to beat.
2021 Record: 14-1, 7-1
2021 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Matt Entz (37-4 at North Dakota State, 37-4 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Tyler Roehl
Defensive Coordinator: David Braun
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: TaMerik Williams, RB, 772 yards
Passing: Cam Miller, QB, 1,444 yards
Receiving: Phoenix Sproles, WR, 284 yards
Tackles: Michael Tutsie, S, 81
Sacks: Eli Mostaert, DT, 7.5
Interceptions: Dawson Weber, S, 4
Other Key Returnees: RB Kobe Johnson, FB Hunter Luepke, RB Dominic Gonnella, RB Jalen Bussey, TE Noah Gindorff, OL Cody Mauch, OL Nash Jensen, LB Cole Wisniewski, CB Courtney Eubanks, LB James Kaczor, DT Javier Derritt, DE Jake Kava, CB Jayden Price
Key Losses: QB Quincy Patterson, WR Christian Watson, TE Josh Babicz, OL Cordell Volson, LB Jackson Hankey, DE Brayden Thomas, LB Jasir Cox, DT Lane Tucker, LB Mason Hofstedt
Cam Miller is back under center after throwing for 1,444 yards and 14 touchdowns with just three interceptions. Fellow quarterback Quincy Patterson is now at Temple after splitting time with Miller. Patterson threw for 813 yards and ran for 660 yards. The passing game will need to find a new top receiver with the absence of Christian Watson, who caught 43 passes for 801 yards and seven touchdowns. Phoenix Sproles and tight end Noah Ginorff are next in line to take on bigger roles in the passing game. Meanwhile, NDSU will continue to run the ball early and often. TaMerik Williams leads an impressively deep running back room. Williams rushed for 772 yards and a dozen touchdowns. Kobe Johnson, Hunter Luepke, Dominic Gonnella and Jalen Bussey are all capable backs and Coach Matt Entz can keep attacking the opposition on the ground from every direction.
The defense was impressive last season and that will not change in 2022. There are some years where the Bison defense has to reload quite a bit and they do not miss a beat. This time around they do not have that much reloading to do. Eli Mostaert, Javier Derritt, Jake Kava and Spencer Waege highlight an impressive defense front line. Waege missed all but three games last season due to an injury, but he was on a variety of All-American teams during the 2020-21 season. Cole Wisniewski and James Kaczor will take on a larger leadership role at linebacker. The secondary returns virtually intact. Safeties Michael Tutsie and Dawson Weber are big time playmakers, while cornerbacks Courtney Eubanks and Jayden Price are experienced players who the opposition had trouble beating last year.
The Bottom Line:
This is going to be a tough team to beat. The defense is impressive and the offense can grind out games. The offense can be explosive too. The toughest conference game will likely come at home on October 15th against South Dakota State. The only game the Bison lost last year with against the Jackrabbits. A trip to Southern Illinois on November 12th could be tricky as well. But in the end, North Dakota State will be the team to beat in the MVFC and the team to beat in the playoffs.
Projected Postseason:  FCS Playoffs
2021 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 280.6 (2nd in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 150.9 (111, 9)
Total Offense: 431.5 (19, 3)
Scoring Offense: 34.1 (14, 3)
Rushing Defense: 87.6 (6, 2)
Pass Defense: 177.1 (11, 1)
Total Defense: 264.7 (3, 1)
Scoring Defense: 11.1 (1, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.67 (16, 3)
Sacks: 3.27 (8, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.13 (12, 2)