With 6 minutes left in the biggest game of the FCS’ regular season, North Dakota State seemingly forgot about the last decade of Bison football. Much like its namesake, NDSU has stampeded over the Football Championship Subdivision for eight years largely by running the dang ball. So it was a bit shocking to see Dimitri Williams, a redshirt senior running back with experience at every position but quarterback, receive a handoff and pull up to throw with the game tied late. Williams heaved the ball up as he got hit. It died about five yards downfield and landed in the arms of a waiting South Dakota State defensive lineman.
The Jackrabbits had their chance to get a program-defining win in front of a record crowd of SDSU fans. But NDSU is selfish when it comes to glory and wins. Two plays later, the Bison defensive line caused pressure, which caused an errant throw, which landed in the hands of cornerback Josh Hayes.
NDSU then ran for nine yards on three plays to set up a fourth-and-one from their own 29-yard line with 2 minutes left. Most teams punt in this situation as a turnover-on-downs basically gives the opponent a free field goal opportunity. Of course, North Dakota State is not “most teams.”
Their offensive line, the lifeblood of this dynasty, insisted that the offense line up for fourth-and-one. Running back Adam Cofield set up as the dot in the I-formation and watched the sea of defenders part in front of him. He broke an arm tackle and was off to the races. 71 yards later, Cofield stopped running in the endzone, NDSU had a 23-16 lead and the Bison could finish out their 29th consecutive victory.
At this point, the North Dakota State program is untouchable. They have the most championships in FCS history, winning seven of the last eight. No team in Division 1 has come close to that run of titles since the Ivy League reigned supreme at the turn of the century. NDSU is 31-2 in the FCS playoffs since 2010. The only champions in this decade have been the Bison or a team that beats them in the playoffs (Eastern Washington in 2010, JMU in 2016).
This 29-game win streak is the second-longest in FCS history, right behind the Bisons’ record 33-game streak from 2012-14. They have beaten 17 (!) ranked teams during this current streak. Frankly, the only thing left for NDSU to accomplish is getting to 47 straight wins, a record set by Oklahoma in 50s. If there is a team who can beat the Sooners’ record, it’s North Dakota State.
There is more evidence but the conclusion is inescapable: the Bison have become College Football’s most-dominant dynasty ever. They’re also showing no signs of stopping. They should get the top-seed in the Playoffs again and eclipse their own 33-game streak in the first round.
We could point to so many things to explain the NDSU’s success, but I think this clip of them taking the Dakota Marker after the win is a big part of it.
Many of the guys going crazy over the trophy have never lost a game at NDSU. Most have won a championship, while the redshirt seniors have won three titles. Yet, this win over a rival in the middle of the season elicits a huge celebration from the Bison. They don’t take their success for granted, they don’t skip steps, they don’t forget to celebrate. They just run you down and win games. And NDSU will continue to do so until further notice.