Looking back on the 2013 Bison football season produced many great memories. Successful road trips to Kansas and Frisco, phenomenal individual performances and invites to various college all-star games, including the NFL Combine. The list goes on and on. And let’s not forget the best of them all: a third FCS National Championship in a row. I was trying to decide what my favorite part of watching this year’s team was, but I could not pick just one. Here is a recap of my favorite memories:
Another “favored” FBS team bites the dust! Opening the season with a come-from-behind win over the defending Big 12 Champions may be the biggest win in program history, outside of the eleven national championship victories. Seeing the emotions of the players after this win was amazing, but watching the reaction of Head Coach Craig Bohl was even better. With his past experiences coaching against Kansas State, I don’t think anyone realized just how big of a win this was other than him.
BEST OF THE BEST
Running the table in undoubtedly the best and most physical conference in all of FCS football is a daunting challenge. Yet, that is exactly what the 2013 Bison did. The Missouri Valley Football Conference is the toughest conference to play an unbeaten season through, because top-to-bottom the conference is stacked with talented athletes. It is unfortunate that only two teams got into the playoffs, but the best team prevailed, taking home another championship ring and banner.
THE PURSUIT OF PERFECTION
If running the table in the MVFC is a tough challenge, try doing it throughout the entire field of FCS teams. The Bison were up to the challenge. Led by a group of 24 dedicated seniors, a wonderful group of underclassmen and a great coaching staff, the 2013 Bison did what hasn’t been done since the Randy Moss-led Marshall team.
SAYING GOODBYE TO THE SENIOR CLASS
The last four years have seen some of the best football that has come through North Dakota State University. Was this senior class the best to ever come through NDSU? That question can be debated all day long, but they are certainly worthy of consideration. Thank you to all the seniors that made it such a great time to be a Bison fan!
Is the cupboard bare after losing 24 seniors, a head coach and several assistant coaches? HECK NO! The underclassmen who will become the leaders of the 2014 Bison have learned a great deal from those who departed. Experience, leadership, teamwork and most importantly BISON PRIDE! When you look up and down the depth chart for this coming season, there are a lot of names that people will recognize who have a lot of game-time experience. They know what it takes to win.
New Head Coach Chris Klieman is the new man running the show for the Thundering Herd, and he has put together another great staff of coaches to mold the 2014 Bison into what looks to be a great football team. Coaches come and coaches go, and that is even more common at the FCS level, but Gene Taylor has been great at finding talent to keep the momentum going. As a mentor of mine says frequently, “When you look to hire someone, hire someone that is better than you.” I am a believer that when Coach Bohl brought on Coach Klieman a few years ago, he was doing just that.
As fans, let’s remember the greatness of the 2013 Bison, and look forward to watching the 2014 Bison continue to raise the bar of excellence here at NDSU.
*Steve Walker started 36 games as quarterback for the Bison between 2004 – 2007.