Northern State will host its 94th annual Gypsy Day game today.
Northern State (1-3) will host Minnesota State-Moorhead (0-4) at 2:30 p.m. today at Swisher Field in its annual Gypsy Day game. It will be the first intra-division games of the season for the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
Northern State is 63-27-3 in its annual homecoming game.
“It is an exciting game for us,” NSU quarterback Jared Jacobson said, “but at the same time we can’t get locked up in the fact that it is Gypsy Days because we still have a game. We still have to be focused and ready to go Saturday.”
The Wolves are in the midst of a three-game losing streak, after winning their first game of the season. NSU dropped a 42-14 decision last week against No. 2 Minnesota State, Mankato. The Wolves trailed only 14-0 at halftime, but gave up 21 straight points in the third quarter and could not overcome that deficit.
“It really came down to execution,” Northern State coach Tom Dosch said. “It wasn’t like Mankato came out and did a bunch of new things that we weren’t ready for. We were just making more mental mistakes.”
Jacobson said the first half against Mankato was the best the NSU offense has played this season, but the Wolves did not score any points in the first half and did not score until the fourth quarter.
Despite not recording a 100 percent red-zone efficiency last week for the first time all year, NSU still leads the league in red-zone percentage at 91 percent. The mark also ranks 14th nationally.
“Up and down would be a really good assessment,” Jacobson said about the Wolves’ offense. “We have kind of seen spurts here and there, but we haven’t put it together for one full game.”
Dosch said the team as a whole is still searching for that full game.
“We show flashes where we play pretty well,” Dosch said, “but we don’t do it on a series-by-series, quarter-by-quarter basis and that is really what we are shooting for.”
Moorhead lost last weekend to Concordia-St. Paul 36-34. The Dragons had a potential game-winning field goal blocked with seven seconds left.
“They are a good team,” Dosch said about the Dragons. “Their record doesn’t indicate really how good of football they are playing at times and records usually don’t. Our focus is still on us and getting better at what we do. Ultimately it is us being assignment sharp and just being more consistent. That is probably the thing we are probably lacking right now.”
Moorhead has lost eight straight games dating back to last season, which is the longest active losing streak in the NSIC. Moorhead has also lost its last 12 games on the road.
“We definitely can’t overlook them because they are 0-4,” Jacobson said. “They have had a tough schedule. We definitely have to come ready Saturday and can’t overlook them one bit.”
The Wolves pass defense ranks second in the NSIC and 22nd in the country in defensive pass efficiency at 106.7. The Wolves are also 30th in the nation in passing yards allowed per game with 185.3.
Game notes: The Wolves are 27-21-1 all-time against the Dragons and have won the last four meetings in the series. NSU won last year’s meeting 45-7 in Moorhead. . . . Due to the weather conditions, today’s alumni tailgate has been canceled. . . . Aaron Bohl leads the Dragons’ defense with 29 tackles. Bohl is the son of North Dakota State football coach Craig Bohl.