atKICKOFF: 1:30 p.m. in Minot, N.D.
STADIUM: Herb Parker Stadium.
SERIES: SCSU leads, 4-0-1
LAST MEETING: The teams tied at 14 in a game in 1965
LAST WEEK: SCSU lost 37-20 to Bemidji State; Minot State beat MSU-Moorhead 31-10
RADIO: KNSI 1450-AM or 103.3-FM
It came out of nowhere for Eric Poggenburg.
The St. Cloud State junior free safety started to feel pain on his right side the morning of Oct. 24 and it wasn’t going away. After being checked out by a few doctors, he found out he had appendicitis. He had surgery to remove his appendix on the morning of Oct. 25 and was out of the hospital later that day.
He ended up missing last Saturday’s game against Bemidji State and he’ll miss today’s game at Minot (N.D.) State. He doesn’t know if he’ll be able to play next Saturday’s season finale at Minnesota State-Moorhead.
“It sprung up on me. I wasn’t prepared for it at all,” Poggenburg said. “I got it looked at and I had to get it out. I had it taken out. I should be able to heal up soon. I’ll see how I feel next week and if I can perform physically. If I can, I’ll be out there for the Moorhead game.”
The Huskies moved junior Jack Moro to free safety in place of Poggenburg last week and started redshirt freshman Bobby Wills at field cornerback. Poggenburg and SCSU head coach Scott Underwood both credited Moro for making a smooth transition to his old position.
“Jack can handle himself at any position on our defense. He’s a great player and the smartest person on our defense,” Poggenburg said. “He knows every little thing. We just put him to where he was when he came in, at safety. It wasn’t a big step for him because he’s so familiar with it. He felt right back at home.”
Said Underwood: “It was a whole different look for Jack coming from the field corner. He did a good job. But Eric has a maturity and confidence back there that we missed.”
Poggenburg found out he didn’t like watching from the sidelines very much last week in the 37-20 loss to Bemidji State. He missed six games last year with a broken leg.
“Watching from the sidelines is not my favorite thing, especially last year when I missed so much time,” Poggenburg said. “I want to be out there as much as I can. I just tried to keep everyone motivated on the sidelines and pumped up, no matter what the score was. I’ll continue to do that the rest of the year.”
* The Huskies have two players questionable for today’s game. Underwood said defensive end Chris Hansen (lower leg injury) and linebacker Todd Bestgen (concussion) are both questionable for the game. The two players didn’t practice earlier in the week.
Sophomore Bo Putrah is listed as the starter on the team’s depth chart at Hansen’s STUD defensive end spot.
NSIC teams can travel 55 players on an away game, but St. Cloud State will only travel 50 this week due to injuries.
“It appears we’ll have 50 healthy players. That’s hard,” Underwood said. “We don’t have the quality depth that we need. There’s some concern. We’ve gotten hit harder with injuries this year than we have in the past.”
* Left guard Rafael Saez will get his second straight start this week. Starting left guard Matt Schmiesing went down with a season-ending knee injury at Northern State two weeks ago.
“We thought (Saez) played OK last week. He’s still catching up because he had an injury earlier in the year. We’re just trying to get him up to speed,” Underwood said.
* This is the first time SCSU has played Minot State since 1965. The Huskies hold a 4-0-1 edge in the series.
* SCSU co-offensive coordinators Doug Patterson and Ian Shoemaker and defensive coordinator Jim Louis all coached at Minot State. Patterson spent seven seasons as Minot’s offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. Shoemaker coached quarterbacks and wide receivers at Minot while also being the school’s baseball coach. Louis spent five seasons coaching linebackers and the defensive line while also being the defensive coordinator from 2003-04.
* After rushing for 41 yards last week, Underwood said it’s important for the Huskies to establish the ground game against Minot.
“To be able to throw the ball, and do our play-action with our personnel groupings, we have to be able to run the ball,” Underwood said. “We had some opportunities last week and had some setbacks. We lost confidence in it with the looks Bemidji was giving us.”
Underwood wants to see more emotion out of his team this week.
“We have to play harder and with more emotion,” he said. “We have to block better, have to tackle better and we have to flow to the football better. We haven’t done those things the past two weeks. We have put some ownership on our kids to try and do that.”
* SCSU quarterback Phillip Klaphake has now thrown for 7,247 yards and 58 touchdowns in his career. Both of those numbers rank him second on the all-time lists behind Keith Heckendorf. Heckendorf threw for 9,695 yards and 101 TDs. Klaphake could catch Heckendorf by next season in yardage.
* Moro is tied for most interceptions in the country with seven.
* Eli Shoemaker was the first SCSU receiver to go over the 150-yard mark since Fred Williams did it in 2010.