Feature photo by J. Alan Paul Photography
After ending the season with a loss for the first time since 2010, the 2017 North Dakota State football team was on a mission to reclaim its throne atop the FCS. With a dominating start in the nonconference schedule to the grind of the Missouri Valley Football Conference gauntlet to another home stretch in the playoffs, the Bison provided a trip back to Frisco, Texas, that the players, coaches and fans will never forget.
North Dakota State strong safety Robbie Grimsley tells us all about his reaction from another trip back to Frisco.
Position: Strong Safety
Stats: 69 tackles, 4 TFLs, 1 sack, 4 INT, 12 passes defended
What was it like being back on that stage in Frisco?
“It was so much, I don’t want to say better than last time, but I was able to soak so much more in. Last time, I was just a freshman and I was rushing through everything. I didn’t even know there was a stage to run to back then. I just soaked everything in and enjoyed it this time.”
What was your initial reaction when you saw JMU’s punter running down the sideline?
“My initial thought was we got to get this punt off and secure it. We weren’t going for a return, we were just trying to get the punt. When I saw him start taking off, I was like, ‘Oh no.’ I knew he was going to get the first down. Then I was like, ‘We just have to stop them on defense now, I guess.'”
Walk us through that Hail Mary to the end zone and what you saw?
“I was playing nickel at that time. I was underneath and the quarterback started rolling out my way. A receiver was running behind me so I was trying to stay underneath him. Once he lobbed it up, I was making sure no one was in the area to catch it after it got batted down.”
Maybe it’s hard to compare games, but do you feel that’s one of the better defensive efforts you’ve been a part of?
“Absolutely. Given how successful JMU was all season and especially against us last year. To be able to hold them to, I think it was a season or playoff low, it was an impressive performance to only give up 13 points.”
The secondary brings back a lot but loses Tre Dempsey. How is that going to change your role on the defense and who can step in for Tre?
“I’m not sure how it’ll change things up or who’s going where. As far as my role, I know I’ll have to be a leader in the DB room. Tre has been a great leader and a mentor to me and now I’ll have to take over that role.”
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