Sports Spotlight: The Smith's Football Family

If Lee Smith would have followed in his father's footsteps, he would have played at Dickinson State. If Landon Smith would have followed in his brother's footsteps he would have played at UND, but he went to NDSU.

This unique football family from Dickinson is this week's Sports Spotlight.

Lee helped the University of North Dakota win a national championship. Landon helped North Dakota State make the playoffs for the first time in the FCS.

"When he chose that you'd automatically think that's where Landon was going to go, because Landon spent a lot of time carrying Lee's duffel bag after the UND games from the Alerus Center," said Dale Smith, Lee and Landon's father.

"What kind of swayed me at the end of the day was NDSU was starting that transition already when I was going through the recruiting process," said Landon, who was an NDSU senior in 2010. "And UND wasn't quite sure what it was going to do at the time."

Seven years separate the Dickinson Trinity grads and that gap somewhat softened the blow of playing for different universities, but the older brother has something the younger one does not. Lee suited up against against the in-state rivals.

"That's why you play, is to play in games like this," said Lee, who was a senior at UND in 2003. "It's a true rivalry game and it's a game everybody has interest in."

Landon helped the Bison beat some FBS schools, but as exciting as those wins were, it's not NDSU against UND.

"I would probably give up those games or one of those games to plays in the UND-NDSU game," Landon said. "I'm definitely jealous I never got to play in one."

"I think Lee would tell you that's one of the highlights of his career when he was at UND was to be able to play NDSU," Dale said.

"On the field it was a very intense game," Lee said. "It was a very emotional game."

While Landon feels he missed out on those emotions, Lee is OK with it.

"I was kind of relieved it never happened while Landon was playing," Lee said. "It was one of those things I knew he really wanted to play in and it was something he wanted to experience, but it would have been hard for me to watch."

The Smith's will forever be a family divided by college football, but they certainly know how to have fun with it.

"When we had our first son, he gave him some NDSU clothing and they just had their first child so some UND clothing will be coming that direction," Lee said.

"I'm going to be with my boys," Dale said. "I'm sure we'll hear the things I can't say on air when something happens on this side and something happens on that side and at the end of the game we'll see who has to live up to the bet they made with each other."

And Dale even catches a break because both of his boys are now working for Bobcat.

"Now we kind of joke because Dad doesn't really wear NDSU or UND gear," Landon said. "He wears Bobcat gear since we're on the same team."

When the Smith's gather to watch the NDSU-UND game on Saturday, they'll be watching on NBC North Dakota Sports. Live coverage in KFYR-TV, KQCD-TV, KUMV-TV, KMOT-TV and KVLY-TV begin with the one-hour pre-game show at 1:30 p.m. CST on Saturday.

It's the first time NDSU and UND will meet on the football field since 2003.​