FARGO, N.D. - About halfway through the third quarter, the North Dakota State student section began the cheer of "Overrated" - pointing out the No. 3 ranking of the Youngstown State Penguins wasn't deserved.
Going by Saturday's game, the NDSU students were exactly right.
While I don't think the Youngstown State team was completely overrated heading in to Saturday's highly-anticipated matchup, I just think the Bison are a really good team - so good they make even the best competition in the FCS look like a junior varsity high school squad.
Now, the Penguins picked the worst game of the year to play their worst game of the year in the 48-7 loss to the top ranked, undefeated and defending national champion Bison.
But frankly, I don't care what school you are, and what division you play in, not many teams are going to beat this NDSU squad.
The Bison never let up, even when the game had got completely out of control and it was known they were going to win handedly. Every unit was sound and the few mistakes they did make were made up for on the next play or shortly after the offense.
The NDSU offensive line by far was the best unit of the day, and is the reason the Bison offense is so successful. Quarterback Brock Jensen was hurried once (I don't even remember that happening) or forced to throw a bad pass. Not once was he taken out of his game. That led to the success of running back John Crockett, who never went down on the first hit. That's the recipe for a successful offense.
As for the defense, they were fast, hard-hitting and never missed an assignment. The YSU offensive line is usually a stable and strong unit, but they were being pushed around throughout the game. I've never seen Kurt Hess look as frazzled as he was on Saturday. It felt like he was hurried on every play, though the stats only reflect eight hurries, and the normally shifty Jamaine Cook could barely get anything going on the ground, only rushing for 43 yards.
Much of this isn't that YSU was overrated, but it has everything to do with that North Dakota State is by far, without a doubt, the best team in the FCS.
I would bet my paycheck that the Bison will be back in the National Championship game this year, defending its title. Whether or not YSU gets a chance to contend for it will now depend on how the team bounces back from one of the worst losses in school history.
The Missouri Valley Football Conference schedule doesn't let up this week, as the Penguins (4-1) get back on the road to take on the also 4-1 Illinois State Redbirds, which also lost its first game of the year on Saturday.
Hess and defensive lineman Aronde Stanton said they are very interested to see how the team responds to the first loss of the season. If the Penguins come back the way they should, then playoffs aren't out of the picture and they can still achieve that goal for the season.
If the Penguins let this loss turn into a free fall, then the NDSU students were exactly right.