Football rivalry


Nick Erickson, Staff Writer

It’s a short drive down I-29 this Saturday for UND’s football team as they head to Vermillion, South Dakota to take on the University of South Dakota Coyotes. With this border battle coming up, it’s worth taking a look into the history of the past 20 years for these former Great West Conference foes.

Before most of us were even thinking of taking classes at UND, our football team once existed in not the Big Sky conference, but the Great West Conference. Cal Poly, UC Davis, Southern Utah, Chicago State, Houston Baptist, Utah Valley, Texas-Pan American, NUIT, USD and UND all existed in this once highly competitive football conference. There was no bigger rivalry than UND and USD due to their substantial line of divide that exists just 282 miles from each other.

UND, has the upperhand when it comes to records, having bested South Dakota 13 times of their last 15 meetings and going 8-0 at home while standing at 5-2 on the other side of the border. To compare the dominance UND has had, for relevant referral, the last time UND lost to USD, UND was still referred to as the Fighting Sioux.

USD has put up a strong fight however, having gone into overtime with UND twice in that span of 20 years: once being last season, and the other in 2008 only to have come out on the losing end both times. Most games have been incredibly close since 2005. The highest margin of victory for either team has been 15 points in UND’s favor in 2009. The next was in 2010 with 10 points in favor of USD. The remaining games were a one possession game.

Between 1998 and 2004, USD was only able to come within 20 points of UND once in 1999 in Vermillion. UND’s highest margin of victory over South Dakota happened two years later in Vermillion again, a 48-7 (41 points) victory. In regards to points, UND since the 1998 season has averaged 33 points against USD. Meanwhile, the coyotes have only managed to fall in with an average of 21. Most of the previously mentioned differences mentioned previously were due to the 1998-2004 seasons.

Even with the two teams having a five-year gap between 2011 and 2016 of not meeting, they’re within a two-point span on their average points per contest. UND manages to average 32 points in the last five meetings, with USD right on their heels with 30.

UND won four of the last five meetings, but had the advantage of having three of them be on home turf. The two games that had gone into overtime, occurred during the last five contests as well, even though they didn’t amount to the smallest margin of victory.

In 2011, the last of their Great West Conference contests between each other, UND managed to rally from being down 37-17 with 10:35 left in the fourth quarter. UND senior Quarterback Brent Goska threw for three touchdowns to cap his final game as a then Fighting Sioux football player and clinch a share of the Great West Conference regular season championship.

So whether you’re looking between the last 20 or the last five, you have to applaud USD regardless of how their record looks against us since then. Their football program has only become stronger and stronger since the early-to-mid 2000’s where they failed to even come within spitting distance of a win when I-29 would be traveled on Saturdays in the fall.

This matchup looks to be yet another great game between these two high powered teams in their respective conferences, USD having joined the Missouri Valley Conference and UND being in the Big Sky conference since both teams disbanding from the Great West Conference in 2012. Be sure to check out the game on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. in Vermillion, South Dakota.

Nick Erickson is a staff writer for Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]