It doesn’t matter who North Dakota State’s opponent is on the football field. The Bison have proven again and again they can hang with the big boys.

On Saturday, NDSU’s 22-7 victory against Colorado State gave the reigning Football Championship Subdivision national champion its sixth win against a Football Bowl Subdivision school in nine tries since 2006.

In those nine opportunities – all road games -- the Bison are 2-1 against Minnesota, 1-0 against Ball State, 1-0 against Central Michigan, 1-0 against Kansas, 1-0 against Colorado State, 0-1 against Wyoming and 0-1 against Iowa State.

“We take them one at a time,” NDSU head coach Craig Bohl said. “People say that we should not be playing these [games]. Our guys have a great resolve along with that we stick with what we know, try to get outside the box, and when we do that, more teams typically lose on Saturday than win. So we're able to go in and play well."

NDSU VS. FBS SCHOOLS (SINCE 2006)
YEAR OPPONENT SCORE
2012 Colorado State W, 22-7
2011 Minnesota W, 37-24
2010 Kansas W, 6-3
2009 Iowa State L, 17-34
2008 Wyoming L, 13-16
2007 Central Michigan W, 44-14
2007 Minnesota W, 27-21
2006 Minnesota L, 9-10
2006 Ball State W, 29-24

Sure, when a FBS program puts a FCS team on the schedule, the word “cupcake” immediately comes to mind. And, in most of the cross-divisional games, FCS teams are sorely overmatched. Just a few scores from last weekend’s schedule hammers that point home: Oklahoma 69, Florida A&M 13; Florida State 55, Savannah State 0 (in three quarters); and Virginia Tech 42, Austin Peay 7. 

North Dakota State, however, is no pushover. Just ask CSU head coach Jim McElwain

“I will give those guys [NDSU] a ton of credit,” McElwain said. “That’s a good football team, like I told everybody. They should be really proud of the way they played. They came in here and took the game from us, and we didn’t do anything to try and take it back. So give them credit. They’re a well-coached football team; they have experienced guys who know how to win and expect to win, and that’s what championship teams do. You can see why they were a championship team last year.”

Last year, the Bison downed Minnesota 37-24 in the third week of the season. The year before NDSU knocked off Kansas 6-3 in the season-opener. 

“You know people tell us we aren't talented enough and we aren't big enough, but that doesn’t matter when you play like you're supposed to,” junior defensive end Cole Jirik said. “We've done it three years in a row now. It’s definitely nice to come into a place like this with a big crowd and take it from them."

No matter who NDSU is playing, defense is the name of the game for the Bison. They held the Rams to seven points, while allowing 243 yards, causing two turnovers, posting four sacks and allowing CSU to convert just 1-of-10 third downs.

And, NDSU’s defense has been consistently outstanding. The Bison have allowed just 20 points in their last five contests dating back to a 24-0 shutout win against Lehigh in the 2011 Division I FCS Quarterfinals. They have limited opponents to 10 points or less in nine of its last 17 games.

So, if North Dakota State ever appears on your schedule, FBS coaches and players heed this warning: Playing North Dakota State is no walk in the park. Kansas State and Iowa State – this means you. The Wildcats and Cyclones are lined up to open the 2013 and 2014 seasons, respectively, against the Bison.  

On a side note, FCS schools Northern Arizona and Sacramento State made big statements during the weekend by upsetting FBS schools. NAU came back from a 14-0 deficit to defeat UNLV 17-14 for the Lumberjacks’ first victory versus a FBS team since 1987. Sacramento State upended Colorado 30-28 as Edgar Castaneda nailed a 30-yard field goal as time expired, giving the Hornets their second win against a Pac-12 team in as many years. The Hornets edged Oregon State 29-28 in overtime last season.

Also: North Dakota State stuns FBS Colorado State

• The Oklahoma women’s soccer team pulled off the biggest upset of the week, knocking off No. 3 Oklahoma State 1-0 on Friday in front of a record crowd at John Crain Field in Norman. It was the first time the Sooners defeated OSU in the last 11 games of the Bedlam Series with their last victory coming in 2005.

OU forward Renae Cuellar scored the game’s lone goal, while senior goalkeeper Kelsey Devonshire picked up her first shutout of the season as OSU went scoreless for the first time this year. The last time the Sooners shut out the Cowgirls was in 2003. Third-ranked OSU was the highest-ranked opponent the Sooners have defeated in program history.

• In Division II football, No. 24 Texas A&M-Kingsville ended No. 9 Abilene Christian’s eight-year winning streak in the series as the Javelinas upended the Wildcats 16-13 in Lone Star Conference action on Saturday night. Kingsville held preseason NCAA Division II player of the year Mitchell Gale to his lowest output in three years, snapping a 23-game streak of games in which he had thrown a touchdown. Gale passed for just 137 yards, while the Wildcat offense mustered just 224 yards of total offensive against the Kingsville defense.

ALBION VS. NO. 10 WHEATON (ILL.)
 
Rushing Yards 172 108
Passing Yards 104 140
Red Zone Scores 4-4 1-2

• No. 4 Connecticut survived an overtime battle with No. 21 Washington 1-0 on Friday in front of 4,902 fans as senior defender Max Wasserman netted the game-winning goal with a free kick from the top of the box in a game that was broadcast live on the Fox Soccer Channel. Wasserman also contributed game-winning free kicks against Michigan State and SMU in 2011.

On Sunday against Boston University, overtime was on the agenda for the Huskies again – their third OT game of the season. UConn played two extra periods against the Terriers, ending the contest in a 1-1 stalemate.  

• Several of the nation’s top Division II women’s volleyball teams participated in the Colorado Premiere Challenge during the weekend, but only one went through the tournament with a 4-0 record. No. 14 West Texas A&M won the tournament title, sweeping No. 10 Metro State, No. 5 Central Missouri and No. 3 Tampa. The Lady Buffs were tested by West Florida, but prevailed in five sets. Unranked West Florida had knocked off No. 1 Concordia-St. Paul earlier in the tournament. Lacy Hayes contributed 34 assists in the championship match against Tampa, garnering Most Valuable Player of the tournament.  

• Albion College pulled off the biggest upset in Division III football during the weekend, edging No. 10 Wheaton (Ill.) 22-21 on Saturday, ending the Thunder’s 30-game winning streak against non-conference opponents. On fourth-and-nine, Albion senior quarterback Spencer Krauss connected with Zachary Brewer for a 21-yard touchdown pass with 1:30 remaining in the game. (Watch the replay) Lycoming served up the only other top 25 upset in Division III, downing No. 22 Delaware Valley 24-14.  

• The No. 1 team in Division II men’s soccer went down on Friday as No. 19 Grand Canyon snuck by defending NCAA champion Fort Lewis 3-2.  It was the second time Grand Canyon has knocked off a No. 1 team. The Lopes also topped then-No. 1 Cal State Dominguez Hills, the 2008 NCAA champion, during the 2009 season.

THE DIGIT   THE 4-1-1
4 Felician College junior striker Alysia Arcona collected four goals in a 6-0 victory against the Concordia (N.Y.) College to open the Central Athletic Collegiate Conference schedule on Thursday. It is just the second time a player has netted four or more goals in the 15-year history of the Division II women’s soccer program.
9 UC Irvine junior water polo player Bojan Hrlec combined for nine goals in two Anteater wins at the Inland Empire Classic in La Verne on Sunday. No. 6 UCI has reeled off seven consecutive wins to open the season.
24 The Kenyon College football team’s 24-game losing streak ended with a 31-14 win against Earlham College in Division III action on Saturday. But, while the Lords snapped their skid, Earlham continued its slide to 22 consecutive losses.
106 The Division III football series between Gallaudet and Catholic began in 1906, but until Saturday Gallaudet had not defeated the Cardinals in the 106 years since that first meeting. The Bison clipped the Cardinals 47-27 for their first win in the series.  
600 Miami (Ohio) head women’s volleyball coach Carolyn Condit picked up her 600th career victory with a 3-2 win against Indiana State on Friday.  
4,922 A record-breaking crowd of 4,922 fans at South Stadium in Provo witnessed the No. 24 BYU women’s soccer team upset No. 6 Penn State 3-1 on Saturday. Senior Jessica Ringwood netted the game-winning goal to spark the Cougars to their second win against a ranked foe this season, and a victory against the second-highest ranked team in program history.

• No. 10 Tampa blanked No. 18 Clayton State 3-0 on Saturday thanks to a hat trick by sophomore Tyler Blackwood in Division II men’s soccer. His first goal of the match was also the first of Blackwood’s career. He is the first Spartan to notch a hat trick since Ryan Griffin accomplished the feat in 2011. Tampa’s win against a nationally-ranked opponent was also the Spartans’ first since Oct. 1, 2011.

• The University of Maryland Eastern Shore women’s volleyball team boasts the longest current home-winning streak in Division I. The Hawks have won their last 24 matches at the Hytche Athletic Center, not having fallen in Princess Anne in almost three years. UMES took the national lead on Thursday after No. 4 Texas fell to No. 14 Minnesota in four sets, snapping its 33-match home-winning streak. The last time UMES has been defeated at home was on September 26, 2009, when the Hawks fell in three sets to Sacred Heart.

NJCU's Raphael Araujo
SDSU

• In his first career start, fifth-year senior Marcus Hendrickson tied the North Dakota single-game record with six touchdown passes in his squad’s 45-37 victory against Portland State on Saturday.  Hendrickson connected on 16-of-25 passes for 294 yards, and currently leads the FCS through two games with a 258.31 pass efficiency rating – 70 points higher than the next closest quarterback.

• After a scoreless first half against Seton Hall on Saturday, the No. 15 Old Dominion men’s soccer team found the offense that had been what the Monarchs were missing as they went on to win 6-0 at the 37th annual ODU Stihl Soccer Classic. Junior forward Tim Hopkinson netted three goals and assisted on two others in the contest. The six goals are the most the Monarchs have scored in a game since 2003.

• Puget Sound wide receiver Adam Kniffin set yet another school receiving record on Saturday, making 12 catches for a school-record 267 yards and four TDs in a 55-35 loss at Chapman in Division III football. Kniffin owns eight of nine school records in the receiving category, and is just 58 yards shy of becoming Puget’s Sound all-time leading receiver – the only mark that does not have his name attached.

• Following a 1-0 win against Bryant on Sunday, the Air Force women’s soccer team is off to its best start in school history with a 4-1-2 mark. The Falcons have shutout four consecutive foes led by junior goalkeeper Kelly Stambaugh. Air Force’s defense has not allowed a goal in 400 minutes.

• Division III’s Bethany College won its first varsity field hockey game since the program was reinstated this fall. Freshman Kaitlin Perch netted the game-winning goal in overtime to defeat Transylvania (Ky.) 2-1 on Sunday.  Bethany, which started the season 0-4, had not fielded a varsity field hockey team since 1989.

New Jersey City University sophomore forward Raphael Araujo became the first player in the 54-year history of the men’s soccer program to score in each of the first five games of the season. With seven goals in two games last weekend, Araujo sparked the Gothic Knights (4-1-0) to the 2012 Liberty Cup title. He has 11 goals in five games on the season after scoring just two in all of 2011 as a freshman. 

Follow Amy Farnum on Twitter: @NCAA_Amy