Football Saturday: 114th Meeting of UND-NDSU

No. 10 North Dakota will take on No. 5 North Dakota State in Grand Forks for first time in 18 years

UND archival image.

A showdown 18 years in the making, No. 10 North Dakota and rival No. 5 North Dakota State will meet on Saturday, Oct. 2 in Grand Forks for the first time since 2003 to open Missouri Valley Football Conference play.

Both the Fighting Hawks and Bison will be rested heading into the 114th meeting at the Alerus Center, as each team was last in action on Sept. 25. North Dakota dispatched Drake in its home-opener, 38-0, to record its first shutout since 2017, while NDSU won its road-opener at Towson, 35-7.

The UND win extended its home-opener unbeaten streak to an FCS-best 36-straight while also winning its 12th consecutive home game, the third-longest active streak in FCS.

North Dakota’s offense got a little deeper versus Drake as Isaiah Smith made his Fighting Hawk debut and rushed for 125 yards, becoming the second student-athlete in the Hawks Division I history to rush for 100+ in his collegiate debut. Jack Wright, who had previously played at Idaho State and Utah State, led UND with 53 receiving yards on three catches.

On the defensive side, the Hawks preserved the shutout in the fourth quarter by recording three takeaways and finished the contest with four to give the University of North Dakota eight heading into the Bison game.

In the last four seasons, the Alerus Center has been a fortress for the Fighting Hawks, posting an 8-1 record against nationally-ranked opponents with a 1-1 mark against top-5 teams. No. 4 Weber State in 2018 is the sole ranked team to defeat UND at the Alerus Center, escaping with a 35-30 victory.

North Dakota State, which made the jump to Division I following the 2003 season, has only appeared in the Alerus Center twice, falling in 2001 and most recently in 2003, a 28-21 overtime win for UND. Both games were sellouts. The rivalry is tied for the eighth-oldest rivalry West of the Mississippi River, dating back to 1894.

The weekend will also serve as North Dakota Athletics’ Hall of Fame Weekend, where nine individuals and two teams will be enshrined from the last two years’ classes. Three of those individuals being inducted are former football student-athletes: Mark Callahan and Travis O’Neel, and Mike Mooney.

Fans unable to attend the game can watch the contest on Midco Sports or ESPN+, or listen to Jack Michaels, Tom Dosch, and Paul Raulston’s call on the Home of Economy Radio Network, FightingHawks.com or The Varsity App. The pregame show begins at 1 p.m.

— UND Athletics