Photo special to Bison Illustrated
Welcome to the countdown to Frisco! Starting Christmas Day with a “The Twelve Days of Christmas” theme, we’ll feature a Bison football player per day who had a memorable FCS Championship game. Join us as we countdown these remarkable memories and get ready for the big game Jan. 6!
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With 37 seconds left in the 2014 FCS National Championship game, Tre Roberson and the Illinois State offense began a drive on their own 27-yard line and down by two points. After a completion, penalty and eight-yard run, Roberson dropped back and hit tight end Joe Farmer over the middle. NDSU’s Nick DeLuca and Esley Thorton heavily covered Farmer once he appeared to catch the ball. Thorton twisted his way to the ground and stole the ball out of Farmer’s hands. It was an interception. Thorton had clinched the game.
The senior linebacker won NDSU its fourth consecutive FCS National Championship.
It was an outstanding way to end Thorton’s career. Earlier in the fourth quarter, he dropped an interception and in the words of Harry Dunne “totally redeemed himself.”
“To redeem myself like that was a storybook ending,” Thorton told reporters after the game in Frisco. The Bismarck native, who originally came to NDSU to play quarterback, registered six tackles against a potent Redbirds attack.