FARGO, N.D. – Traveling to play four-time defending Football Championship Subdivision winner North Dakota State in the earsplitting confines of the Fargodome would seem like an unfavorable scenario for opposing quarterbacks. Richmond’s Kyle Lauletta had it on his bucket list.
The Spiders sophomore said that as a high school student in Exton, Pa., he followed the Bison closely as they began their dominance of Division I’s second tier. He’ll get his wish Friday night when Richmond (10-3) faces NDSU (11-2) for a trip to Frisco, Texas, and the FCS title game.
“It has always been a team I have dreamed about playing, especially in the Fargodome,” Lauletta said.
The Spiders got there by winning at Illinois State, last year’s national runner-up. They held quarterback Tre Roberson and running back Marshaun Coprich to a combined 66 yards on the ground.
“That’s a pretty impressive deal to shut those guys down. We have a lot of respect for Illinois State and the guys that they have,” Bison quarterback Easton Stick said. “That’s a big testament to Richmond and their defense.”
In preparation for the Fargodome, Richmond coach Danny Rocco brought his offense into the school’s basketball facility to run plays in simulated noise, and Lauletta has been sharpening up on hand signals.
The buzz in Bison nation last week was the return to throwing by senior quarterback and NFL prospect Carson Wentz, who broke his wrist in mid-October. That is barely a dull roar this week and it appears that Stick, a redshirt freshman, will be gunning for his eighth straight victory.
“We’re confident in Easton. More importantly, Easton’s teammates are really confident in him,” NDSU coach Chris Klieman said. “He is getting better and better, and he’s feeling more comfortable.”
NDSU is 15-0 at home in the FCS playoffs.