It's been a quiet week on the campus of Youngstown State University for the Penguin football team.
After a huge conference win over long-time nemesis UNI on Sept. 29, the Penguins enjoyed a bye week. YSU used the week to get healthy, shared their facilities with the San Francisco 49ers, and most importantly, put all of their thoughts and planning on this week's game against North Dakota State.
The schedule couldn't have worked out better for the undefeated Penguins -?start off the conference season against a long-time rival, then have an extra week to prepare for the number one team in the country in the FCS.
For the Bison, who also are undefeated this season, they had a tough task this past week, travelling to UNI on Saturday. Behind John Crockett's 122 yards rushing and two touchdowns, North Dakota State came out of Cedar Falls with a 33-21 victory.
This is one of the biggest advantages the Penguins have going for them - the element of time and rest.
Another benefit for the Penguins is that they have been tested on numerous accounts this season. As for, North Dakota State, that hasn't exactly been the case.
The Penguins opened the season by defeating Pitt, had a close call against Albany, then rallied and battled against an always tough UNI squad. All three of those games have needed clutch plays, and a full, four-quarter performance.
As for the Bison, they have cruised through games until their matchup against UNI. They blew out Robert Morris, 52-0. Took down Colorado State 22-7, then beat up on Prairie View A&M 66-7. Though UNI never had the lead, it was never a blow out. But that was the closest game North Dakota State has had.
These two advantages can be huge for YSU, but only if the proper preparation is used this week. Learning from mistakes and using the extra time to come up with a strong game plan can make the difference in the outcome of the game.
However, don't think the Bison haven't had this date circled on the calendar all season. Last year, the Penguins went to Fargo, and left North Dakota with a 27-24 victory.
The Penguins have been focused all season on a one-game-at-a-time, 1-0 every week mentality. I can guarantee anyone the Penguins are solely focused on this week's contest.
And they will need it. Because if they walk away from North Dakota State still undefeated, then this team has a legitimate chance for a national championship.
NOTE: Sulonen will be traveling to North Dakota State to see the Penguins take on the Bison. Follow her live posts, tweets and blogs throughout the game at "Dana's Sports Daze" on www.tribtoday.com