Countdown to … NDSU

The Dakota Marker game is almost here. In the meantime, feast on some pregame notes and thoughts. Stop back here at 1 p.m. Saturday for complete live coverage:

The SDSU defense will get help this week in the return of starter Charles Elmore, its most explosive linebacker. The true sophomore hasn’t played since dinging a shoulder in the fourth quarter of Week 2 at North Dakota. 
"I think it’s a huge deal to have him back," coach John Stiegelmeier said. "I don’t know if he’s a better athlete than the other guys or a better player, but he’s just got more savvy."
Even with the return of Elmore, SDSU will keep Drew Kreutzfeldt at linebacker, too. He’d been a safety until last week. The hope is that the physical play of Kreutzfeldt and the solid coverage abilities of Dallas Brown will give the Jacks two contrasting options behind Elmore.

SDSU has moved true freshman CB Freeman Simmons into the two-deep chart this week. Ideally, he won’t be called upon and therefore can retain his redshirt. The Jacks have done similar things in the past with other players.

This will be a big recruiting weekend, too, as the SDSU football team will have about 30 guys on campus and the basketball team will have a couple. The basketball team starts official practice tonight at 7, a workout that is open to the public.

There’s rain - and wind - in the forecast not only for Saturday, but Friday. And Coughlin-Alumni Stadium is set to host a high school game in those conditions.
Does SDSU RB Zach Zenner fancy himself a mudder?
"I can go either way with it," he said. "I guess I’d prefer no rain. I feel like changes in weather are a defensive advantage."
Meanwhile, temps were in the 80s on Thursday, making practice feel more like fall camp than Week 5. 

The Bison have four seniors ranked as pro prospects t their respective positions: OT Billy Turner (18th), CB Marcus Williams (29th), QB Brock Jensen (41) and DE Cole Jirik (67).
That same site lists two Jacks: CB Winston Wright (65) and DE Doug Peete (70).  

Both starting quarterbacks - Jensen and SDSU junior Austin Sumner - are on the verge of setting key school records. Jensen needs 90 yards to set the Bison mark for most total offense in a career, while Sumner is 290 away from the SDSU standard for career passing yards.
They’ve got there in very different ways. Jensen has never thrown for more than 259 yards in a game, while Sumner has hit the 300 mark seven times. 

The last top-10 clash in Brookings: No. 3 Southern Illinois vs. No. 9 SDSU in 2009. The Salukis prevailed 34-15 in what amounted to the Missouri Valley Football Conference title game.

Terry Vandrovec also posts regular updates on his Twitter page.