UND football Week 8 primer: How to watch, injuries and matchups with South Dakota State

The No. 20 Fighting Hawks will host a No. 1 team in the country in its division for the first time since 1990.

UND quarterback Tommy Schuster throws a pass Sept. 10, 2021, against Utah State in Logan, Utah. Photo by Wade Denniston/Utah State Athletics.
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GRAND FORKS — South Dakota State had never previously been the No. 1 team in the country until this week.

UND hasn't hosted a No. 1 team in its division since 1990.

It all adds up to a big Missouri Valley Football Conference matchup between No. 1 SDSU and No. 20 UND at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Alerus Center.

UND is 9-1 against ranked teams since 2019 at the Alerus.

Here are the quick details.


No. 1 South Dakota State at No. 20 UND

Kickoff: 3 p.m.

Where: Alerus Center.

TV: Midco Sports, Brian Shawn play-by-play, Ryan Kasowski analyst.

Radio: 96.1 FM (Jack Michaels on play-by-play, Mike Berg analyst, Paul Ralston sidelines)


Streaming: ESPN-Plus

Injuries: UND is coming off a bye week but really didn't have many key injuries to monitor as the Fighting Hawks have remained healthy this year. The longest-range injury has been starting safety Sammy Fort, who was hurt Week 1 against Nebraska and is out for the season. UND wide receiver Marcus Preston who was in street clothes at Youngstown State is expected to miss the SDSU game, as well.

The Fighting Hawks need to sustain drives against a stout South Dakota State defense that is averaging just 245.7 yards allowed per game. UND coach Bubba Schweigert said during the bye week UND needed to continue to develop more offensive threats, so it would be a perfect week to see breakout performance from someone outside of the core playmakers Tyler Hoosman, Isaiah Smith, Tommy Schuster, Bo Belquist and Garett Maag. Defensively, UND needs tackle well on the edge, an issue this season with an inexperienced secondary replacing three of four starters from 2021. SDSU wide receiver brothers Jaxon Janke and Jadon Janke are dangerous if unchecked. Jaxon had eight catches for 103 yards against UND in Brookings last year.

The Jackrabbits need to get to UND quarterback Tommy Schuster, who has played clean in recent weeks. Schuster has just one interception in the last four games. SDSU's defense, though, has already intercepted nine passes this season and recovered four fumbles. Last year in Brookings, Schuster was 22-for-37 for 218 yards. He helped UND go 13-for-19 on third down and have about a six-minute advantage in time of possession. UND held Pierre Strong to 72 rushing yards a year ago and the Jacks would see a big boost if they can get Isaiah Davis loose in the ground game in this matchup. Davis has 740 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 130 carries.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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