The Union Recorder

Local Sports

December 13, 2012

ND State defense facing dominant run game again

FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota State's Travis Beck didn't hesitate when asked how fellow linebacker Grant Olson could top last week's record-setting, 29-tackle effort in a playoff victory over Wofford.

"He'll probably break it again," Beck said.

A crazy notion, perhaps, but Olson should be the center of attention again Friday night in the Football Championship Subdivision semifinal against visiting Georgia Southern, like Wofford a triple-option team that runs the ball almost all the time.

Olson, a 6-foot, 223-pound junior from Plymouth, Minn., cracked a wide smile when asked if he enjoys playing an option team.

"For me, yes. For other guys, not so much," Olson said. "I know the defensive line doesn't exactly enjoy taking on blocks the entire time. For me, you get to play the run and tackle people. It's a lot of fun."

Olson said he was hoping, for the sake of his defensive linemen, that the defending FCS champion Bison (12-1) would play Old Dominion, a passing team, so the players up front would have a chance to do what they enjoy the most — sack the quarterback.

"But unfortunately for them, they don't get to do it," he said.

Georgia Southern leads the country with a rushing average of 409 yards per game. The Southern Conference team has not thrown the ball more than 10 times in a single game and went one contest — against Wofford — without attempting a single pass.

The Eagles (10-3) have a former running back at quarterback in Jerick McKinnon, who leads the team in rushing with 1,736 yards, and ran for 316 yards in one game. They have a running back, Dominque Swope, who has piled up 1,169 yards and 16 touchdowns despite missing three starts with a concussion.

Some believe that the Bison, who rose to prominence in Division II with an option game, dumped that offense because it couldn't work in Division I. Three teams run it in the Southern Conference.

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