When you take on a project, whether it be in business, athletics or life, most people will say that they want to leave it in better shape than when they first saw it. When a doctor visits a patient, they both hope they walk out the door in a better position than when they arrived. When a mechanic looks at a car, every mechanic hopes that it drives out of the garage running better than when it came in. How does this have anything to do with North Dakota State University Athletics?
Twenty-four senior football players on the Bison football team embarked on doing the exact same thing when they came to NDSU four or five years ago.They’re goal was to leave the Bison program in better shape than when they arrived in Fargo.
It is safe to say that these senior football players have done just that. Try and disagree with that statement and you will be spinning your wheels. It seems like only yesterday when most of this senior class came in during the fall of 2009. Most redshirted during the ‘09 campaign and watched the Thundering Herd struggle through a three-win season, but look what has taken place since then. These players deserve a huge “Thank you” from all of Bison Nation.
Let’s re-cap a few things over the last four years while they transformed our Bison into the back-to-back National Champions in search of a three-peat.
2010: NDSU is one blind replay official away from moving on to the semi-finals of the FCS playoffs after losing to Eastern Washington in overtime.
2011: NDSU wins its first Division I FCS National Championship in school history.
2012: NDSU repeats and wins its second National Championship in a row.
2013: NDSU wins the Missouri Valley Football Conference Title for the third time in three years. (As I am writing this article, they are one win away over USD to have an undefeated regular season going into another playoff run.)
This trip down memory lane brings back some great memories, and puts the phrase: “Bison Pride” in the front of my mind. Is the season over? Absolutely not, it’s just beginning in the minds of many Bison fans.
Looking back over the first part of this 2013 season, it hasn’t always been perfect in the minds of Bison fans, but no team will ever be perfect every snap of every play. But the Bison have been consistent, dominant and fun to watch playing together. How can you not get excited when the second half comes around and the offensive line is pushing defenders back while putting them on their rear ends? Or watching the linebackers fill run gaps and everyone running to the ball, playing great defensive football? Even watching the punter, Ben LeCompte, consistently pinning teams deep in their own territory without a return opportunity has been exhilarating.
Bison Pride is about coming together and playing as a team. Not a man in that locker room cares about individual statistics, and all they want to do is continue to win and get another ring on their finger once this season is all said and done. This class of 24 seniors has definitely left the NDSU football program in a better place than when they arrived, and it’s the leadership they possess that will make sure every class after them does the exact same thing.