Bison notebook: The weather plays a role for the first time this Bison season – InForum

MACOMB, Ill. — Weather was a factor for the first time this season in a North Dakota State game.

Sustained winds of 25 miles per hour with gusts of more than 30 affected the Bison and Western Illinois passing, punting and kicking games in the 56- 17 of the NDSU at Hanson Field.

The wind was blowing from the southwest with the terrain to the north and south, so the difference was stark. When Bison head coach Matt Entz turned on the weather channel at a Burlington, Iowa hotel on Saturday morning, he saw the windy forecast.

“Winds blowing up to 35, we expected it would not only affect our offense but the special teams as well,” he said. “Just kind of how we approached the game. “Talk to other coaches there, the same wind in Iowa City or the University of Illinois, it was all over the Midwest, so that was going to have an impact.”

NDSU’s first touchdown was the result, at least in part, of the wind. Western Illinois made three outs on their first drive and Leathernecks punter Jack Beulke’s punt went just 20 yards into the wind. This gave the ball to NDSU at the Western Illinois 47-yard line.

Running back Kobe Johnson crossed the WIU line on NDSU’s opener and stayed intact for a touchdown and a 7-0 Bison lead just 50 seconds from the start of the game.

The NDSU plays its home games in the Fargodome and its previous three road games have been at a dome in South Dakota and played in fair weather in Arizona and Indiana State.

Bison center linebacker Nick Kubitz picked up a rare penalty late in the first quarter.

As Western Illinois faces third and fourth at NDSU 29, Kubitz was flagged for a baffling signals penalty. It was a 5-yard foul that gave the Leathernecks a first down.

Under college football rules, a baffling signal penalty is assessed whenever a referee determines that a defensive player is imitating offensive signals. This includes trying to mimic the snap count, trying to call fake audibles, and trying to mimic the quarterback’s cadence.

Entz said that due to the wind, safety Dawson Weber early in the game clapped for a teammate’s attention. He was notified by the authorities.

Entz said Kubitz did the same while clapping for a teammate’s attention to change his defensive look as the Leathernecks were about to play.

“I know it’s a point of attention,” Entz said of the call. “But when the attack doesn’t use a clap as a cadence, then what does it do?”

Eubanks finally gets an elusive INT; Sigle take one home

Bison cornerback Courtney Eubanks has played a lot of snaps and faced plenty of pass situations over the past two seasons. He finally got what he was looking for against Western Illinois: his first career interception.

Eubanks knocked out WIU quarterback Clay Bruno in the first quarter, returning to his own 33-yard line. It appeared that Eaubanks was a block or two away from turning it in for a big yardage. His teammate, Marques Sigle, took care of it.

Sigle caught a pass from Bruno on Western’s first run in the second half and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown. It made it 35-10.

North Dakota State’s Marques Sigle scores during an interception over Western Illinois during their football game Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Macomb, Illinois.

Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co.

“I saw the QB, then I saw my blocks and once I saw my blocks…early in the week we preached on the block walls…so I knew a time they were past me, it was going to be a touchdown,” Sigle said.

Sigle’s pick of six was the first interception return for a touchdown for the Bison since Jabril Cox had one against Delaware in 2018.

WR Mathis makes a defensive impact

Zach Mathis has made a name for himself as the top wide receiver in NDSU this season. He leads the Bison with 20 catches for 298 yards. But the Tampa eldest made an impact with a big tackle on Saturday.

Mathis blocked Western Illinois’ Cam Washington for a two-yard loss on a fake punt in the first quarter, suffocating early and giving NDSU good field position at the Leathernecks’ 38.

TaMerik Williams rushed 25 yards for a touchdown three plays later to give NDSU a 14-0 lead.

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North Dakota State’s Cole Payton takes on Western Illinois in their football game Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in Macomb, Illinois.

Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co.

It was Mathis’ first tackle of his career, which started in 2019 but was hampered by injuries before this season.

Sigle said Mathis talked about being a defensive player.

“He always preached that he wanted to play corner, so he’s waiting for a moment like this to finally show that he can at least tackle or keep someone,” Sigle said.

For his efforts, Mathis will receive a team award of a Hershey bar at Monday’s team meeting.

“We’re doing a segment called it doesn’t take talent,” Entz said. “I’ll probably put it in that one.”

Bison running back Jalen Bussey made the trip but did not dress for the game. He hasn’t played since NDSU won at South Dakota on Sept. 24. Redshirt freshman Barika Kpeenu dressed instead of Bussey. … Defensive end Tony Pierce didn’t dress for NDSU. He injured his leg last week against Illinois State. Loshiaka Roques made his first career start in place of Pierce. … Cam Miller’s second-quarter interception was just his second of the season and the first since throwing one at South Dakota on Sept. 24. … – Western Illinois has scored one rushing touchdown this season. Bruno has the only TD on the ground.

About Jefferey G. Cannon

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