Two things before we get going; yes I was NOT at the game, I watched the broadcast which I’ll get to in a second. 2) I did pick the Gophers in Jeff and I’s preseason video blog, but did pick NDSU in the paper on Saturday.(Flip-flopping apparently allowed) I was highly disappointed in how homer a broadcast it was on Saturday night, granted I know it’s the Big Ten Network but the fact that no interview at halftime or postgame of Craig Bohl or any Bison player was stunning and disappointing and the sideline reporter apologized to Jerry Kill for the Gophers losing! Now I may not ask all the tough questions, but that’s something I’ve never done I can promise you that. On to the game:
There were 5 plays I marked in my notebook watching the game that struck me and why NDSU won:
- DJ McNorton’s 58 yard run in the 2nd quarter. Right after Minnesota had tied the game at 14, McNorton had a sparkling run deep into Gopher territory which he finished off a couple plays later with a TD run, put NDSU up 21-14 and the Bison stole the momentum right there.
- Shortly after that touchdown was the Colton Heagle interception and lateral (fumble) to Marcus Williams, a terrific heads-up play by both players and Williams’ speed was on display to give NDSU a two-touchdown lead at the break.
- The opening drive of the 3rd quarter. NDSU marched right down the field, and Brock Jensen(who had his best game as a Bison by far) made 2 terrific conversions on 3rd down, the throw and catch by Garrett Bruhn was outstanding, Jensen also hit Ryan Smith and Matt Veldman on 2 third down plays that kept the Bison on the field. And to have Ryan Jastram’s first FG attempt of the year be a 49 yarder and he drills it? The Bison were living well last night.
- Finally as Jeff already detailed, the Williams INT and return was the backbreaker, it was a typical Marcus play that we’ve seen in practice and in games for the last year and a half, I told ESPN 1500 in the Twin Cities last week he’s the best corner in the league and a Minneapolis kid, he’d be extra motivated to play well and he certaintly did with his best game by far.
Now with all that being said, and I’ve said this from the pre-season, it was a great win, but in the long scheme of things this win CANT be the end all be all. I know the comments that will come from that statement and yes, this is huge for the school and for the attention and for recruiting and I couldn’t agree more. But unlike 2006 and 2007, NDSU is playing for something more and that season begins this Saturday. This is a perfect trap game in my mind. Remember 2007? After beating Minnesota at the Metrodome, NDSU beat Southern Utah and Illinois State handily, but was on life support needing a comeback for the ages at Cal Poly and ran out of gas at SDSU. That has to be avoided this season. NDSU has a chance at a conference championship this year and THAT is the goal(according to the team; not beating Minnesota) A chance at 2 home playoff games, which Jeff and I detailed back in the spring, the last 4 FCS champions HAVENT played a road playoff game. That’s why this week’s game with Illinois State is huge, to avoid the letdown and there has to be one from that emotional high of beating the Gophers. But this Redbirds team has given NDSU fits the last 2 years, winning in Fargo in 2009 and then a two-back tandem beat up the Bison in Normal last year. New video blog with Jeff and I coming tomorrow, the question I leave you with…where will the Bison be ranked tomorrow? The top 4 in last week’s coaches poll all won….