Bison offense looking for consistency

Updated: October 8, 2003, 2:32 PM ET

FARGO, N.D. -- The North Dakota State University football team has won four of its first five games with a stout defense, and an offense that has done just enough.

That's not enough to satisfy the offensive players and coaches, especially with eighth-ranked Nebraska-Omaha coming to the Fargodome on Saturday.

"We've played well enough to win and that's it," offensive coordinator Dan Enos said. "It's not been one person or one area. We've done it on drives occasionally. We've done it in halves occasionally. What we haven't done is do it in a whole game."

NDSU's best half was the third and fourth quarters of a 25-24 come-from-behind win at the University of Montana. Its most consistent four quarters was the 28-7 season-opening win over Tusculum College.

One of its best drives was an 85-yard, 10-play drive in the third quarter against California-Davis that pulled the 12th-ranked Bison to within 17-14 in a game NDSU went on to lose.

But to date, the longest NDSU scoring play has been a 69-yard fumble return by safety Mike Sheppard. Its prettiest play came on special teams, on a fake field goal that helped the Bison upset Montana.

Offensive players are not discouraged.

"We're close here and there to busting out on offense," quarterback Tony Stauss said.

Enos said it is important that Stauss does not put too much pressure on himself.

"It's a total team thing," he said. "The thing with Tony, his personality, is that he's such a hard worker and he puts so much pressure on himself that we need to try to get him to relax."

Inconsistency aside, the Bison are still completing passes at a much higher clip than the previous two years. Stauss has hit on 65 percent of his throws and is a threat to make the Bison record book in two categories.

The school season record is 68 percent, though that was set by Chris Simdorn in 1988 on only 50 attempts. Arden Beachy has the career mark of 65 percent.

"We strive to have a high-percentage passing game," head coach Craig Bohl said. "Last week, those numbers dropped off and when you get to midway in the season, you like to see those numbers improve. We're going to take a hard look at what kind of routes, protection and what we're asking Tony to do."

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index