September 17, 2015

(STATS) - With Carson Wentz back and playing well, North Dakota State is focused on making history in the renewal of its rivalry against North Dakota on Saturday.

Wentz suffered an ankle injury in the fourth-ranked Bison's 38-35 loss at then-No. 12 Montana on Aug. 29. After being limited in practice last week, he went 19 for 29 for 281 yards and three touchdowns in Saturday's 41-14 win over Weber State.

Perhaps more importantly for North Dakota State (1-1), Wentz, who is on the STATS FCS Offensive Player of the Year watch list, ran for 45 yards and a score on seven carries.

"He ran a quarterback draw early in the game and showed that he's healthy," coach Chris Klieman said, "and for us to be successful, Carson has got to be healthy and has to play at a high level."

Wentz now looks to lead the Bison to a Missouri Valley Conference record-tying 25th straight home win. They already own the nation's longest active Division I streak and are 41-3 at home since 2010.

Matching that mark isn't likely to be easy versus longtime foe North Dakota (2-0), which topped FBS-member Wyoming 24-13 in Week 1 before hanging on to beat Drake 21-18 on Saturday.

This was the most played rivalry game in Division II history before both clubs moved to the Division I level. The schools are meeting for the first time since 2003 and the 111th time overall.

North Dakota, which holds a 62-45-3 advantage in the series dating back to 1894, has won three straight and 10 of the last 13 since 1993. The Bison had won 12 straight from 1981-1992.

"Obviously, up in this area, it's a big game for our alums, for our state, for our community," Klieman said. "It going to be a great, electric atmosphere in the Fargodome and our guys are excited."

BACK ON TRACK: After scuffling in a 31-14 loss at Iowa in the opener, the fifth-ranked Redbirds appeared to take a step in the right direction in Saturday's 67-14 home win over Morgan State.

Tre Roberson completed 9 of 13 passes for 259 yards and tied a career high with four touchdowns and Anthony Warrum added five catches for 126 yards and a career-high three scores en route to the team's highest scoring output since beating Indiana State 69-17 on Oct. 13, 2007.

Marshaun Coprich ran for 130 yards and broke Toby Davis' school record (37) with three rushing touchdowns. He now has a chance to break Davis' mark for total touchdowns (39) Saturday in the 104th meeting of the Mid-America Classic at Eastern Illinois.

The Panthers (0-2) committed seven turnovers in a 33-5 loss at Western Illinois on Sept. 3 and surrendered 496 total yards in a 41-0 defeat at Northwestern on Saturday.

"It'll be a completely different team than what we've seen on film. They play very well at home," coach Brock Spack said. "It'll be a really good experience for our players."

The Redbirds have dropped four of the past seven meetings, including three straight in Charleston.

ANOTHER TOUGH TEST: Western Illinois suffered a 44-0 loss at Illinois last weekend and won't catch a break Saturday when it travels to face No. 2 Coastal Carolina.

The Chanticleers (2-0) have been prolific offensively, totaling 488 yards in a 38-35 win at Furman in Week 1 and 506 in a 41-14 victory at South Carolina State last weekend.

After doing a solid job defensively in a 33-5 home win over Eastern Illinois on Sept. 3, the Leathernecks (1-1) gave up 500 total yards against the Illini.

"More than anything, I think it's a chance to show we're a better football team than what we've shown the first two weeks," coach Bob Nielson said.

Western could get a boost with the return of Nikko Watson, a 6-foot, 250-pound senior running back. Watson, the team's second-leading rusher in 2013, is eligible after serving a suspension.

TOP 25 SHOWDOWN: Ninth-ranked Northern Iowa will try to make it back-to-back victories over ranked teams Saturday when it hits the road to take on No. 17 Cal Poly.

Following a 31-7 loss at Iowa State on Sept. 5, the Panthers (1-1) pulled off a big 38-35 victory over then-No. 7 Eastern Washington last weekend. Aaron Bailey threw for two touchdowns and ran for 134 yards and Darrian Miller rushed for 112 against the Eagles.

They'll try to keep it going against a Cal Poly team that eked out a 20-19 win at Montana in the opener before hanging tough with Arizona State in a 35-21 road loss last weekend.

"They're definitely an opponent that has our eye just because of the teams they've already played and the success that they've had," UNI coach Mark Farley said.

WALKING WOUNDED: No. 23 Indiana State will be without several key players Saturday when it hosts Southeast Missouri State for the first time since 2008.

Defensive back Mark Sewall, a preseason all-conference pick, broke his ankle on the first play in last weekend's 38-14 loss at Purdue. He was scheduled for surgery but could return this season.

Running back LaMonte Booker (sprained knee), linebacker Kendall Walker (concussion) and defensive back Phil Wilson (concussion) will be game-time decisions, according to coach Mike Sanford.

Booker leads the Sycamores with 157 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

The Redhawks (1-1) followed up a 34-3 loss at Missouri on Sept. 5 with a 27-24 home win over Southern Illinois on Saturday. They own a plus-seven turnover margin after coming away with three interceptions and four fumble recoveries against the Salukis.

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