NDSU just made a little bit of history on January 9, 2016. They became the only team to win 5 consecutive NCAA Football National Championships. It’s something that’s never been done before, at any level. Sometimes the term ‘Dynasty’ gets thrown around a little too freely in athletics. In this case it may be a little understated.
I don’t think you can really call this ‘surprising’. I wrote before about the tradition that NDSU has winning. They have done it for a long time, with lots of different coaches and lots of different players at two different levels.
I think the most impressive thing about this year’s team was how they limited every one of the teams they played in the post season this year to a season low in yardage. Every single one.
The next week NDSU took on the University of Northern Iowa and beat them 23-13. A week after UNI had two rushers each get 200 yards, NDSU limited them to 221 yards of total offense. NDSU once again had an edge in time of possession, but it was down to only 31:46.
Finally, NDSU got to take on someone new in Richmond, and kept them to a season low of 209 yards of total offense as they won 33-7. Once again time of possession heavily favored the Bison, holding the ball for 36:37.
In the championship game the high powered offense of Jacksonville State got a first hand look at the NDSU defense. NDSU crushed them 37-10, limiting the Gamecocks to just 204 yards of total offense, only 57 of which was through the air. It’s hard to score when you don’t have the ball. NDSU held the ball for 40:51, forced 4 turnovers keeping the JSU offense off the field.
I was expecting a closer game this year. I thought it was going to be like last year’s game where NDSU beat Illinois State on a last minute touchdown to win it 29-27. JSU’s athleticism, with a duel threat quarterback and hard running tailback, a bunch of dangerous receivers and a strong defense seemed so very similar. But it wasn’t to be.
Over the last five years, the NDSU Bison have beaten Jacksonville State 37-10 to cap off the 2015 season, Illinois State 29-27 after 2014, Towson 35-7 after 2013, and Sam Houston State twice, 16-7 (2011) and 39-13 (2012). NDSU has gone on the road to beat FBS teams like Iowa State and Kansas State as well as Minnesota and Colorado State. They are 71-5 during that time. As of tomorrow there won’t be anyone on the team who knows what it’s like to end a season with a loss (6th year senior – due to medical hardship, breaking both his collar bones during different seasons – Zach Vraa is the last person from the 2010 season that ended with an overtime loss to eventual champion Eastern Washington).
The typical Bison gameplan isn’t anything flashy or trendy. They run power football with a controlled passing game. But Carson Wentz can sling the ball down the field with the best of them. He’ll likely be an early round NFL draft pick. These teams have been loaded with talent. Off the top of my head I can think of several NFL and CFL players from these teams. Brock Jensen was the QB for the first 3 Championships, setting an FCS record for most wins by a starting quarterback (CFL – Ottowa), Sam Ojuri (CFL – Hamilton), Billy Turner (NFL – Miami), Kyle Emanuel (NFL – San Diego), Marcus Williams (NFL – New York Jets), John Crockett (NFL – Green Bay), and Ryan Smith (CFL – Saskatchewan). I’m sure I’m forgetting some people.
The coming years are looking strong for this team as well.