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Published October 06, 2011, 10:11 PM

Young defenders a big reason for Bison's early success

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - One of the big reasons why the Bison are one of only 3 undefeated teams left in FCS has been the play of the defense, which won't surprise anyone. What may surprise you is that the standouts are all sophomores are younger.

By: Dom Izzo, WDAY

One of the big reasons why the Bison are one of only 3 undefeated teams left in FCS has been the play of the defense, which won't surprise anyone. What may surprise you is that the standouts are all sophomores are younger.

The Bison have grown used to relying on underclassmen. 7 true freshmen played in 2010, but now NDSU is thriving thanks to some guys that sat out last year, notably Carlton Littlejohn and Travis Beck at linebacker and Christian Dudzik at cornerback.

Christian Dudzik – NDSU R-Fr. Cornerback: “Going into spring, never played corner, I was a safety, but after the spring and fall and now thru games, I am a corner.”

Carlton Littlejohn – NDSU R-Fr. Linebacker: “Didn't expect to get this much playing time when I came in, because of redshirt, getting this, it’s been nice, good learning experience.”

Travis Beck – NDSU R-Fr. Linebacker: “Definetly a big help me and Littlejohn got to take majority of double reps, the more you do it, the better you get at it.”

One of the major questions this season was at defensive tackle as NDSU had to replace 3 year starter Matt Gratzek, bbut North Sargent product Ryan Drevlow hasn't missed a beat.

Ryan Drevlow – NDSU Soph Defensive Tackle: “I want to make people forget who Gratzek is; e've got these guys and fill those shoes and do even better.”

Getting better may be hard. NDSU has scored a defensive TD in 4 of it's last 5 games and ranks 3rd in total defense, and thanks to some added depth at linebacker the Bison are excelling.

Scott Hazelton – NDSU Defensive Coordinator: “Nice to have 3 guys play the same spot who can all play so we've hopefully created a nice niche for Carlton and Travis to play.”

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