Top 5 reasons the Bison completed back-to-back championshipsFargo, ND (WDAY TV) – To win back to back championships ranks as one of the most difficult things to do in sports which makes NDSU's repeat even more impressive. Tonight we look at the top five reasons how the Bison doubled down.
By: Dom Izzo, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) – To win back to back championships ranks as one of the most difficult things to do in sports which makes NDSU's repeat even more impressive. Tonight we look at the top five reasons how the Bison doubled down.
If there was one major difference in this title team for NDSU than last year was the injury bug. The Bison lost two all-conference players at different times during the year, Colten Heagle went down in week two, while Leevon Perry was injured right before the playoffs, so reason number 5 is depth as role players Bobby Ollman, Danny Luecke and Ricky Hagen emerged as reliable replacements.
Number 4 is special teams. The Bison had to replace two seniors at kicker and punter and didn't miss a beat this season. Adam Keller set a school record connecting on 18 field goals, while redshirt freshman Ben LeCompte got better as the year went along, averaging 43 yards per punt, with 18 inside the 20.
At 3 was the youth movement. Granted a vast majority of NDSU's roster returned this year, but several redshirt freshmen stepped up and played major roles, starting at wide receiver with Andrew Okland to two starters on the offensive line in Josh Colville and Joe Haeg who had to replace two guys who had a combined seven years of playing experience.
Reason 2 was the man under center; Brock Jensen, the junior quarterback ran his consecutive start total to 34 games this year and while his numbers were not as good as 2011, Jensen's rushing totals went up and he threw more touchdown passes while also engineering three game winning drives, most notably scoring the clincher against Georgia Southern.
Number 1 has to be the defense. The top ranked unit in 2011 brought 7 starters back this season and a new man running things in Chris Klieman and were even more impressive, allowing just 11 points a game, compared to 13 last year. Marcus Williams became the all-time leader in interceptions in school history and only allowed five rushing touchdowns all season long as opposed to nine in 2011 and the scariest thought for opposing offenses, NDSU returns 10 of 11 starters for 2013.