Photos courtesy of NDSU Athletics
The 1993 season of Bison football was packaged as the season NDSU would return to glory. Stars were back in the lineup, experience intertwined with talent fueled from a premature playoff exit in 1992 and what was created was a football team thirsty for a return to the top. While the Bison yearned to be crowned champs once again, a new indoor arena sprouted just north of the old battleground. The Fargodome was constructed and introduced to Fargo through the rhythmic noises of rock and roll legends Guns N’ Roses. Five months later, the NDSU football team would start to play their own music and introduce a new era in a new stadium, leaving the old memories of Dacotah Field behind.
Kevin Bloom – Right Guard
Kevin Bloom lives in Roberts, Wisconsin, with his wife and kids, and works for 3M. He tries to make it back for at least one Bison football game every year. Bloom played for the Bison from 1989-93. He was a two-year starter on the offensive line and was nominated for the Division II All-Fargodome team.
Arden Beachy – Quarterback
Dr. Arden Beachy lives in his hometown of Staples, Minnesota, with his wife and three daughters. His oldest, Jaelin, runs track and field at NDSU. Beachy is a family practice physician at Lakewood Health System. He was a senior quarterback and captain on the 1993 football team. He also ran track.
Scott Fuchs – Left Guard
Scott Fuchs coaches the offensive line at the University of Wyoming with former Bison head coach Craig Bohl. Fuchs spent eight years, in two different stints, on the sideline for NDSU before leaving with Bohl after the 2013 FCS Championship season. Fuchs was a senior and a first-team All-American on the offensive line in 1993.
Brad Servais – Center
Brad Servais lives in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, with his wife and three kids. He works in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as a finance director for Rockwell Automation. Servais was a sophomore on the 1993 team and would become a first-team All-American his senior year in 1995.
November 28, 1992
NDSU finished 9-1 in the regular season in 1992. The only loss came at the hands of St. Cloud State, on Homecoming, when a Ludvig Millfors’ game-winning field goal attempt soared inches wide. The Bison made the playoffs and hosted a first round game at against Northeast Missouri State in Fargo. The Bison won 42-7. It was the last game they would play at Dacotah Field, ending a run of Bison football tradition that goes back to 1911.
Because NDSU had lost to St. Cloud State, they went on the road for a quarterfinals matchup against Pittsburg State (Kansas).
Editor’s Note: Quotes have been edited and condensed for clarity.
Kevin Bloom: “We went down to Pitt State and we were in it right up until the end, and we tied it up, and I believe it went into overtime. We went for two in overtime and it was six inches short.”
Arden Beachy: “A lot of people forget in that Pitt State game, we ran a sneak before the final play. I was going in (to score) and the guy face masked me, which was a good play by them. So we got to do the play over again.”
Brad Servais: “Mark Hanson got tackled a half yard short of the goal line. I still remember the play that was called. I think it was 44 Load.”
Beachy: “If I had to do it over again—I didn’t have enough guts—but I was going to change the play we called and run something that no one was going to expect, and sometimes, I wish I would’ve done that. I think it would’ve worked.
“I wanted to run a reverse where we fake the option pitch, and the flanker or split end runs around and goes back the opposite way. We ran it three or four times that year and scored three times. They were so loaded (in the box) because they knew we had to score, and I think T.R. (McDonald) or Shawn Cahill would’ve walked in because they were so loaded to that side. I thought about changing it, and I decided against it. Load was our money play and we should’ve been able to score on that.”
Bloom: “That was a tough year because we missed a field goal against St. Cloud and lost to them, which then made us go on the road to Pitt State for the away game.”
Servais: “That one has to be the toughest defeats in my career.”
Bloom: “Basically, two six-inch misses got us both of our losses and knocked us out.”
Servais: “It was a super tough loss, and I think shortly thereafter, the rumor started to spread that Pitt State is coming to town and we’re going to open the (Fargo)Dome with them.”
Scott Fuchs: “I believe we knew Pitt State would be the opener in January. We had a football banquet and so we knew by then at least.”
An Offseason Of Anticipation
Bloom: “NDSU is going to open in the nicest facility in all of Division II and we’re taking on the No. 3 team in the nation, who narrowly beat us the year before. The rematch. It was played up by sports media, that’s what they do.”
Fuchs: “A lot of people were really excited. People were excited anyway that we were opening in the Dome, but when that game was played, I think we were No. 1 and they were No. 3 in the country so it was a pretty big deal.”
Bloom: “There was so much hype for the Dome-Opener. Back in the olden days, there was one ESPN, and they were trying to get it on a Thursday Night ESPN game.”
Servais: “I remember that as well. That was the rumor going around, and we were excited about that.”
Bloom: “They (NDSU) were fighting for it, and I think Rocky (Hager) told us at the time that we had about a 30 percent chance of getting it. They ended up not making it, but it was televised across North Dakota.”
Fuchs: “It was an odd offseason, too, because (the Fargodome) was open to the public for tours and stuff. We painted up the locker room that summer because when we first got there, everything was blue and there was nothing green and gold. We went over and did a lot of painting as a team, and our first practice was in the fall. We tried to match it to the Dacotah Field locker room and bring it over to the Fargodome.”
Beachy: “I spent all summer in Iowa City (preparing for med school) and I took all the teams we played—South Dakota State, every one of them—took all their defenses they ever run on us on a card and I could call 10 different plays on every defense, against any team. So I was pretty confident I was going to be able to get us in the best play each time.”
Servais: “I remember that year, in preseason camp, we were really excited as a team because we had a lot of guys coming back from the year before. And we had a good feeling that we had a really good chance to be really, really good that year and having that sour taste in our mouth from losing in overtime and quarterfinals back in ’92. As a team, we were really focused and ready to go right out of the gate.”
September 4, 1993
The Fargodome Plays Football
Servais: “We’d all gather together and Rocky led us out as a team, but he tried to keep it as consistent as possible back to what it was at Dacotah Field.”
Fuchs: “Even the scoreboard said ‘Bison’ and ‘Away,’ it didn’t have the other team’s name on there because the old Dacotah Field scoreboard had just ‘Away’ and ‘Bison.’ Everything was kind of set up to be like Dacotah Field as much as possible.”
Bloom: “When we ran out the first time, it was nuts. There were 18,000 people there and everybody was screaming. They didn’t have the fireworks like they do now or the light show. There were more lights on and Lyle Hokanson, who was the announcer, and he announced we were coming out and everybody’s hands were in the air.”
Beachy: “I remember it felt like I was hovering out of my body because everybody was so hyped up and the crowd was so loud.”
Fuchs: “A lot of juice that first game for us. I remember coming out of that locker room and it was very juiced up.”
Bloom: “I remember the student section always filled up first. They were pretty good. And we scored our first touchdown and the students were all along there and I high-fived all the way along the student section before I went to the sideline and the excitement there was unbelievable.”
Servais: “I still remember the first touchdown. I believe Jason Miller scored it, the running back. I remember it was an outside option play and the guard pulled, and I had to block back for the pulling guard and got my feet tangled up and ended up falling down.”
Beachy: “We were going into the north end zone—probably at the 30-yard line—and we ran an option to the left side, I pitched it to Jason Miller and he cut it up, made one cut and ran 20 yards into the end zone.”
Servais: “Hearing the roar of the crowd when he scored was way louder than I ever heard at Dacotah Field, just being inside with 18,000-plus.”
Beachy: “The game was playing out just how I predicted it would. I’d see a defense, I’d call a different play, and boom, it would work. I’d call another play and it would work. We were just going up and down the field on them with ease.”
Fuchs: “I like to say we were the best team in the country for two quarters.”
Arden Beachy Goes Down
Bloom: “It was the second quarter right before halftime.”
Servais: “I didn’t see him get hit during the game. If I remember, it was a down the line option pass.”
Bloom: “Basically, it’s a triple-option where he can run, pitch or throw. He was almost all the way out (of the pocket) and I saw it, and I knew it was happening.
“He was rolling down the line, and Dave Rose (offensive guard) hit one of their defensive ends. Those two guys came together and crashed and bounced off and hit our quarterback Arden Beachy late.”
Beachy: “At first, it felt like I got electrocuted. There’s a shock that goes through your body, which I never felt before, and then my knee hurt.”
Bloom: “Arden’s left leg was planted and that was all she wrote. We ran down field because T.R. (McDonald) caught the ball, and made about a 40-yard run. And we ran down to see him and didn’t notice, then we looked back and there’s Arden, struggling to get off the field.”
Beachy: “I said I’d never get carried off the field, so it was hurting, but I got up, took three or four steps, but I could tell my knee was just wavering. There was no stability. Then Scott Woken came out and said, ‘Hey, sit down.’ I sat down then I knew I was in trouble because they bent it out at an angle, which was pretty far and not normal.”
Servais: “For me, personally, at that point in time, it was like, ‘Okay, guys get hurt. Maybe he’ll be out for a quarter or two, maybe the game, but he’ll be back.’ I wasn’t really thinking about the magnitude of it.”
Fuchs: “What sticks with me from that game, and it’s still heartbreaking, was Arden got hurt. That was tough. Because he was so good, it overshadowed the opener for me.”
Servais: “The magnitude of losing him didn’t hit me until after the game, in the locker room and seeing Rocky, and how he was talking to us after the game. It really hit me then.”
Bloom: “At the time, they said, he’d be lucky to get back by the end of the season. I think they threw that out there as hope for us, but watching that game, it was 21-3 when Arden got hurt. There was just nothing stopping the offense. He was a senior quarterback and he was smart as heck. The dude is a doctor, and he’s running option football.”
Servais: “I remember having that euphoric feeling during the game and then he went out. We ended up winning comfortably, by a couple touchdowns, I believe (35-16). We played so well, but that feeling in the locker room was way different. It was extremely somber afterward. It all sunk into everyone about losing Arden for the year and what that would mean for our team. It was definitely a tough pill to swallow on a night that should’ve been so memorable. Having played so well in front of a full house and what a night for the entire team and from a program standpoint, but then to lose a guy like Arden, and a leader like Arden was an extremely tough pill to swallow.”
Fuchs: “I don’t know about other people, but you knew it was going to be more of a struggle whatever we were going to do, and I don’t think we even made the playoffs in ‘93. It was a struggle and he was obviously an incredibly important part of what we were doing.”
Beachy: “For med school, I had already done all I could do. I had some confidence I’d get in somewhere there. I had my sports goals, I had my senior year and that was to win a Division II title and win a decathlon title before I left NDSU and I didn’t get to do those two things.”
The Legacy Lives On
Arden Beachy’s MCL and ACL tear against Pitt State ended his Bison football and track career. As a captain, Beachy remained on the team to mentor his predecessors at quarterback, Rob Hyland and Mike Gidley. The Bison ended the season 7-3 and missed the playoffs. The Bison bounced back in 1994 and made it all the way to the Division II quarterfinals. But to this day, the 1993 team, the inaugural Fargodome team, is remembered as one of the greatest “What If” teams in Bison football history. Does NDSU return for another crack at a national championship in 1993? We’ll never know. But what Kevin Bloom, Scott Fuchs, Brad Servais and Arden Beachy can hold on to is, for at least two quarters, they knew they were the best team in the country and introduced a new era of indoor Bison football with a proper bang.