The first top-5 matchup of the 2019 FCS football season is set for this Saturday at the FargoDome. No. 1 North Dakota State will host No. 4 UC Davis in the top game of Week 4.
North Dakota State, unanimous No. 1 for the second straight week, enters Saturday's game 3-0 with wins over Butler, North Dakota and then-No. 18 Delaware. The Bison outscored those three opponents 142-39. UC Davis (2-1) rebounded from a two-score loss to FBS Cal in Week 1 to defeat San Diego and Lehigh.
This will be the first head-to-head meeting for North Dakota State and UC Davis since 2007. The Bison lead the all-time series 6-4 but the Aggies are 2-1 in their last three trips to Fargo.
Here’s everything you need to know before Saturday's game, including how to watch the matchup.
North Dakota State vs. UC Davis: Preview, how to watch
Game day information
North Dakota State-UC Davis kicks off at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sept. 21. Here's how to watch, listen and track Saturday's game.
When: Saturday, Sept. 21 at 3:30 p.m. ET | Live stats
Where: Gate City Bank Field at The FargoDome | Fargo, North Dakota
How to watch: NBC North Dakota or ESPN+
North Dakota State topped UC Davis 35-16 in their last meeting on Oct. 6, 2007. In front of a sold-out homecoming game crowd at the FargoDome, Bison running back Tyler Roehl rushed for three first-half touchdowns and finished with 125 all-purpose yards.
NDSU took a 28-10 lead into halftime before each team scored just once more out of the break. The Bison, ranked second at the time, finished the 2007 season at 10-1. UC Davis ended the year at 5-6.
Saturday's game will mark the 11th all-time meeting between the two programs, which includes four Division II playoff games. NDSU is 6-4 against the Aggies overall, including 3-1 in the DII postseason.
The 2019 matchup
|NORTH DAKOTA STATE||UC DAVIS|
|No. 1/1||Latest rankings (Coaches Poll/FCS STATS)||No. 4/4|
|W, 47-22 over No. 18 Delaware||Last week||W, 41-13 over Lehigh|
|3-0 (0-0 MVFC)||2019 record||2-1 (0-0 Big Sky)|
|Matt Entz (3-0, first year)||Coach (school record; season)||Dan Hawkins (17-10, third year)|
|9||FCS playoff appearances||1|
|7||FCS national championships||0|
|191.3 (69th)||Passing offense||332.0 (9th)|
|316.3 (2nd)||Rushing offense||105.7 (83rd)|
|47.3 (2nd)||Scoring offense (points scored per game)||30.7 (44th)|
|13.0 (T-6th)||Scoring defense (points allowed per-game)||25.0 (36th)|
Two standout quarterbacks will be featured in this matinee matchup, and both of them get it done in different ways. While UC Davis senior Jake Maier — second in the nation in 2018 touchdown passes (34) — relies mostly on his arm, North Dakota State redshirt freshman Trey Lance has been a true dual threat in his first three collegiate starts.
Here's how the two signal-callers match up statistically through their first three games in 2019:
|QUARTERBACK||CMP-ATT||PASS TD||RUSH TD||INT||CMP%||PASS YARDS||RUSH YARDS|
|Trey Lance (NDSU)||39-of-49||9||4||0||79.6%||542||234|
|Jake Maier (UCD)||86-of-124||6||0||2||69.4%||921||-40|
7 more facts to know:
- North Dakota State enters Saturday on a 24-game winning streak. That marks the longest active streak and ties for the third longest in FCS history. The Bison hold the all-time FCS mark with 33 straight wins from 2012-14.
- Maier was named Big Sky Offensive Player of the Week for the fourth time in his career and first time this season, coming off a big performance against Lehigh in Week 3. Maier finished 38-of-49 passing with 389 yards and four touchdowns. He now owns the school's career completions record with 756.
- Six different Bison have scored rushing touchdowns through their first three games. Lance leads the group with four, followed by Saybein Clark's two. Kobe Johnson, Ty Brooks, Adam Cofield and Dimitri Williams all have one rushing score. Johnson is averaging a team-best 9.2 yards per carry (21 attempts).
- Both the Bison and Aggies recorded seven sacks on defense in their Week 3 wins. They also have an identical nine total sacks through three games.
- Maier was the only player on either side to be listed on the preseason Walter Payton Award watch list for most outstanding offensive player of the year. North Dakota State linebacker Jabril Cox is the game's lone representative on the preseason Buck Buchanan watch list for top defensive player.
- UC Davis made its first FCS playoffs last year, finishing 10-3 and advancing to the national quarterfinals. The Aggies' turnaround season came just three years after a two-win 2015 campaign.
- North Dakota State is 15-1 against top-5 teams since the start of 2011. The Bison's lone loss during this stretch came at home against eventual national champion James Madison in the 2016 FCS national semifinals.