When the Minot State University football team visits Fayette, Iowa, today to take on Upper Iowa University, it will mark the return of one of UIU's winningest coaches.
He'll be prowling the sidelines for MSU.
Beavers coach Paul Rudolph coached the Peacocks from 1991-99, compiling a 43-47 record and leading UIU to its first winning season in 26 years. Rudolph posted two 7-3 seasons and two 6-4 seasons while UIU was an NCAA Division III school. Upper Iowa hasn't had a winning record since.
Minot State University football coach Paul Rudolph talks to his team after an August scrimmage at Herb Parker Stadium.
"I had a lot friends there, still got a lot of good friends there and still people I stay in touch with today," said Rudolph, who will coach against his former team for the first time. "Ten years of players that are alums of the school. I got a lot of good feelings about the school, but come Saturday, I'd like to win."
To do that, the Beavers (0-3) will need to establish their running game - something they've been unsuccessful at this season. MSU is averaging just 35.3 rushing yards per game.
"They play a lot of man coverage," Rudolph said. "I think it's important that we get open. And they stunt a lot on the d-line, so we're gonna have to get a little run game going."
UIU (1-2) is coming off its first win of the season, a 55-31 victory at Minnesota State University-Moorhead.
The Peacock offense is led by 6-foot-2 sophomore quarterback Cole Jaeschke, who's averaging 270 passing yards and three throwing touchdowns per game. Sophomore Keaton Hosch is leading UIU with 282 receiving yards, including an 18.8 yard-per-catch average. Junior running back Raymond Bradley averages 6.8 yards per carry and 90 yards per game.
"They're skilled," Rudolph said. "The tight end is skilled, the running back is skilled, good solid o-line, a very adequate quarterback. They present a good challenge."
Upper Iowa is MSU's first opponent in the bottom half of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Standings. Minnesota State-Mankato, Wayne State College (Neb.) and the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.) - three of the five unbeaten teams in the NSIC - outscored MSU 106-36.
But the Beavers remain upbeat.
"I don't think we're knocked down a notch yet," MSU junior receiver Wayne Peters said. "I feel we're still coming together as a team. I think eventually (a win) will come. We're takin' these baby steps but eventually we need to take two steps at a time instead of one."
Said senior running back Blake Eggl: "We've been getting closer, we've been getting better every week, so we're hoping to pick one up this week."
Kickoff is set for 3 p.m.