YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – North Dakota State is not just the top-ranked team in the country, they are the two-time reigning national champions who have won 29 consecutive games. That includes one win last year over Youngstown State. But the Penguins have played them tough. In fact, the last two meetings here at home have been decided by just three points in each game.
“It’s a good program,” said YSU Head Coach Bo Pelini. “I said it last year and I’ll say it again. I have a ton of respect. Forget about the winning streak and all that but from a coaching standpoint, I tip my hat to them. They know what they’re doing.”
“At the end of the day, they put their pants on the same way we do — one foot at a time,” said YSU senior center Matt Jones. “Everyone’s beatable at any time. I don’t really think about the winning streak, per se, but they’re just a good team and they win a lot of games.”
“I played against these guys for four years and it’s always been so close coming to the end of the game,” said YSU senior linebacker Cash Mitchell. “We just gotta find that edge at the end of the game to win.”
North Dakota State has won seven national championships over the last eight years.
Coach Pelini said their culture and success somewhat reminds him of his playing days at Cardinal Mooney High School.
“You know, I think back to all the success I had growing up in high school playing for Coach [Don] Bucci. And we did what we did…we said, ‘Stop it’ and we would always tweak things here or there but, fundamentally, coaching-wise, we were really good. And the culture was there. The belief was there. So it’s a heck of a formula. Like I said, they’re not going to beat themselves. You gotta go beat this football team.”
The Penguins host the Bison this Saturday at 6 p.m. at Stambaugh Stadium.