Bison backup QB Davis expected to miss ‘at least four weeks’
By Eric Peterson
Forum News ServiceFARGO — North Dakota State took a hit to its quarterback depth over the weekend.
Bison head coach Chris Klieman said Monday he expects fifth-year senior backup Cole Davis will miss “at least four weeks” with a shoulder separation. Redshirt freshman Henry Van Dellen will be No. 2 on the depth chart behind junior starter Easton Stick.
Davis injured his throwing shoulder in the third quarter of Saturday’s home victory against Robert Morris, diving into the end zone on a 17-yard scoring run.
“The significance of it, probably a little bit more severe because it’s his right shoulder,” Klieman said. “”It’s a big loss. … You hate to see a fifth-year senior go down for any extended period of time.”
The No. 2-ranked Bison (3-0) open Missouri Valley Football Conference play at 1 p.m. Saturday against Missouri State at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. The Bears (1-3, 0-1 MVFC) opened conference play last Saturday with a home loss to Illinois State.
“They have big-play capability and then defensively, they’re really active up front,” Klieman said of the Bears.
Van Dellen has limited game experience, playing in the second half of blowout victories this season against Mississippi Valley State and Robert Morris. He’s completed 1 of 5 pass attempts and rushed for 22 yards on three carries. Van Dellen scored a touchdown against Mississippi Valley State in the season opener at the Fargodome.
“We’ll have Henry get ready to play,” Klieman said.
Klieman said the Bison won’t alter their play calling to protect Stick from getting injured after losing an experienced backup like Davis. Stick has completed 29 of 40 passes for 389 yards and four touchdowns and no interceptions through three games.
“I thought he’s played really well,” Klieman said.
Sophomore safety James Hendricks will be the emergency quarterback, Klieman said. Hendricks, who started his Bison career at QB, will continue to play defense.
Senior punter Jackson Koonce is slated to be the holder on field goals and extra points for Davis. Klieman thinks Davis will be able to hold before four weeks, but won’t be holding Saturday against the Bears.
“That will be a week-to-week deal,” Klieman said.
Missouri State quarterback Peyton Huslig has completed 66 of 115 passes for 838 yards and four touchdowns through four games. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound sophomore has also rushed for two touchdowns.
“I really like the quarterback, I think he’s thrown the ball well,” Klieman said. “He ran the ball exceptionally well last week against Illinois State.”
Missouri State scored 43 points in a season-opening 72-43 loss at the Missouri Tigers, an FBS opponent from the Southeastern Conference. Huslig completed 24 of 35 passes for 353 yards and two touchdowns in that game.
“We’re excited to get into conference week,” Klieman said. “Every week is going to be a grind.”