Hear from Bison head coach Matt Entz and student-athletes Trey Lance, Jackson Hankey, James Hendricks, and Ben Ellefson on the Bison’s thrilling FCS Championship win over James Madison.
There are some good insights from the coach and players of the NDSU Bison. This is a machine transcription that I tried to clean up.
We will let coach (Matt Entz) start with an opening statement; then we’ll take questions strictly for the student-athletes and then we’ll come back to coach. Coach..
Matt Entz, NDSU Head Coach
That was a fun one, wasn’t it? ..These four guys here, and a locker-room-full of other players, are the reason why we’ve been able to be successful all season. Their work ethic, their commitment to being at their best everyday, not only on the football field but in the classroom, resonates throughout our program. We have a lot of 18 and 19-year-olds that are in that locker room.. (They’ve) learned from these four guys and our other captains or other seniors. It’s been a unbelievable ride. I tell people all the time: ‘I’m afraid I’m going to wake up and we’re gonna still be getting ready for Butler.’ (first game of the 2019 season)
We’re gonna enjoy this one today. It’s not very often you go 16 (games without a loss).
The undefeated NDSU ‘Bison’ host the Montana State ‘Bobcats’ (11–3) in the Semifinal game. The #1 team takes on the #5 team. The winner will either play #2 James Madison or #3 Weber State in the FCS championship game in Frisco, Texas. The Bison have played the Bobcats 35 times since 1914. In recent years, the Bison have won 2 of 3 playoff games in the Division Playoffs. Can MSU build on the defensive schemes that ISU used last week, or will the NDSU offense find a way around the blitzes?
The NDSU ‘Bison’ will host the Illinois State ‘Redbirds’ in the NCAA 2019 FCS Quarterfinal Game. The Redbirds hosted the Bison back in October. The Bison won that game 37 to 3. Since that game, the Redbirds have improved to 10–4. Their senior Running Back, James Robinson ran for 210 yards and two Touchdowns in the second round of the FCS playoffs; beating Central Arkansas (#8 seed) 24–14. In the first round, Robinson ran for 297 yards.
The Redbird Defense has been stout. They have the #1 red-zone defense in the country, #2 in turnovers gained, #3 in sacks and Interceptions. Illinois State is ranking #4 in scoring defense and #12 in total defense.
Brock Spack has been coaching the Redbirds for 11th seasons. The Redbirds have seen the Bison 12 times since 2007. The 2014 National Championship was one of the best game either team has played. NDSU won that game 29–27 in the last minutes. That game sticks in ISU’s craw. Will today be the day the Redbirds get their revenge or will the Bison swallow them whole?
The NDSU ‘Bison’ host the Nicholls State ‘Colonels’ in the second round FCS playoff game. After finishing the season undefeated, the Bison have their eyes on the National Championship, but before they can head to Frisco again, they need to make it through the playoffs. As the number one seed, the Bison will be playing at home. And in the Fargodome that is a big advantage.. just ask UND. Nicholls State finished the season 8–4 and has won four straight games. They represent the Southland Conference. The Bison played the Colonels in 2004 and 2005; winning both times. Will the Colonels outrank the Bison? What rank is a Bison? A General?
The Southern Illinois University ‘Salukis’ host the NDSU ‘Bison’ in Carbondale, Illinois. The Bison are playing for perfection. They have already clinched the Missouri Valley Football Conference Championship and probably have the #1 seed. The Salukis are playing for a spot in the playoffs. It should be a good game.
The NDSU ‘Bison’ host the USD ‘Coyotes’ on Senior Day. This is the last regular season home game for the Bison Seniors: FS #2 Dom Davis, LB #3 Jaxon Brown, RB #4 Dimitri Williams, FS #6 James Hendricks, CB #7 Tre Fort, CB #9 Marquise Bridges, WR #19 Jimmy Kepouros, RB #28 Ty Brooks, FB #39 Garrett Malstrom, DT #53 Cole Karcz, OT #68 Zack Johnson, TE #82 Ben Ellefson, DE #91 Derrek Tuszka, and DT #92 Jack Darnell.
The Bison will be shorthanded at Linebacker. LB #55 Aaron Mercadel and LB #42 Jabril Cox are out this week with injuries. NDSU Head Coach Matt Entz will move SS #25 Michael Tutsie and SS #26 James Kaczor down to Linebacker. This shouldn’t be an issue as it covers the Coyote’s passing offense well. But other injuries will slow down the Bison some: DT #53 Cole Karcz and RB #4 Dimitri Williams. Even Freshman RB #24 Kobe Johnson broke his finger in practice this week. Thankfully the Bison have plenty of depth at Running Back.
The NDSU ‘Bison’ host the Western Illinois ‘Leathernecks’ for the 45th annual Harvest Bowl. The Leathernecks (WIU) are struggling this year and the Bison are on a long winning streak, but this is the Missouri Valley where anything can happen and often does.