NDSU football fans busy making title game plansFARGO, N.D. (AP) — Five minutes before Saturday's North Dakota State University football game ended, Nikki Zimmerman was already making plans to get to Texas.
By: AMY DALRYMPLE, The Forum
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Five minutes before Saturday's North Dakota State University football game ended, Nikki Zimmerman was already making plans to get to Texas.
"We knew going into the playoffs that if they went to Texas, we were going," said Zimmerman, a 2008 NDSU graduate who lives in Fargo.
She's not alone.
Bison fans were busy Saturday night and Sunday making arrangements to watch NDSU play Sam Houston State in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision title game Jan. 7 in Frisco, Texas. NDSU earned the trip by beating Georgia Southern in a semifinal game Saturday at the Fargodome.
NDSU was taking online pre-orders for tickets to the championship game starting at noon Sunday. The pre-orders will continue through noon Thursday.
"I think it's been nuts," Pat Simmers, NDSU senior associate athletic director, said of the demand.
Moorhead, Minn., travel agency Travel Inc., which is offering travel packages to the game, had already filled one charter flight to Texas by early Sunday afternoon.
"It's getting to the point where if you're thinking of going, you're going to want it to booked here in the next day or two," said Tod Ganje, Travel Inc. manager.
The firm's package is a charter flight from Fargo to Dallas leaving Jan. 5 and returning Jan. 8. The cost, which includes three nights in a hotel, starts at $1,395 per person.
If the second charter flight fills up, the agency will evaluate whether to add a third, Ganje said. Each flight holds 162 passengers, he said.
Cam Knutson, NDSU's student body president, said he was meeting with the Alumni Association on Monday to attempt to organize a charter bus trip for students who want to attend the championship game.
"There's definitely interest from the students to go," Knutson said.
NDSU didn't immediately know how many tickets will be available to Bison fans through the box office. The Pizza Hut Park Stadium in Frisco seats 20,000 fans.
"We're trying to secure as many tickets as we possibly can," said Josh Hemingway, NDSU's ticket manager.
After the pre-orders are taken, NDSU will allocate the tickets based on priority points. Fans who have had season tickets for many years or have donated to NDSU athletics will get priority.
Hemingway encourages fans to look at travel agencies or other options because NDSU might not be able to meet the demand. Tickets might also become available from fans of other teams that didn't make the championship, he said.
Zimmerman, who will be attending the title game with her husband, Jay, and her mother, Lynda Burkel, bought their tickets through the NCAA FCS website. They booked commercial flights from Minneapolis to Dallas.
"I think there's going to be a ton of excitement," Zimmerman said.