Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome typically is packed with yellow-clad Bisons fans for North Dakota State home football games. (Courtesy)
Wildcats will need to contend with Fargodome noise
A BONE-CHILLING breeze and temperatures several degrees below zero greeted University of New Hampshire football players as they stepped off the airplane a few minutes after noon on Thursday.
The Fargodome itself will be a comfortable 70 degrees, but North Dakota State University and its rabid fans will be out to turn up the heat on UNH in a major way.
The Fargodome has a well-earned reputation for being a tough place to play and the 18,000-plus likely to be in attendance will rock the building in support of their beloved Bison."We've been to a lot of loud places," said Paul Chapman, UNH director of strength and conditioning. "Rutgers was loud, Montana State was loud, Northern Iowa was loud. This is significantly louder than those. It's the loudest around. By far."
UNH practiced on Tuesday and Wednesday this week at the New Hampshire Sportsplex in Bedford to get the feel for playing indoors and also to pipe in loud music and try to simulate the atmosphere in the Fargodome and work on getting their plays in and called.
"I don't think that's going to be much of a factor," Goldrich said. "The good thing is we're not a huddle team. It's not like we'll have to be talking to one another, so if it gets too loud we'll be able to overcome that. We hope."
"The biggest thing is how we handle the noise on offense and how we contain their power and Jensen," McDonnell said.
Brock Jensen is North Dakota State's outstanding senior quarterback who has passed for 30 touchdowns and run for eight more and has been intercepted just six times.
McDonnell says the Bison, in a way, are a combination of a couple of UNH's Colonial Athletic Association rivals: He likens their power offense to Towson's and their defense to William & Mary's.
Only two teams came within 18 points of North Dakota State this year: Kansas State in a 24-21 Bison win in their opener on the road and Northern Iowa in a 24-23 Bison win at home on Oct. 5.
"Against Northern Iowa, they stuck to their game plan and just ran it down their throat," said UNH senior safety and captain Manny Asam.
The Wildcats will look to get out to a good start.
The Wildcats will see if they can do a better job of dealing with the noise and the explosive Bison.
Santos, the quarterback who kick-started UNH's run of 10 straight playoff appearances in 2004, led the Wildcats into a bunch of tough places to play.