Reusse: In year of change, NDSU football finds able replacements

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 30, 2014 - 12:21 AM

New coach, starters will try to keep Bison rolling.

Chris Klieman: Inherits Bison’s 24-game winning streak after replacing Craig Bohl as coach.

The departures affecting North Dakota State’s football program have not been restricted to coach Craig Bohl, several assistants and 24 seniors who were the backbone of three consecutive national championships.

In mid-June, NDSU also learned that Gene Taylor, the athletic director who had led the Bison into Division I competition in 2004, would be leaving to become the deputy athletic director for Gary Barta at Iowa.

“I’m part of the search committee for a new athletic director,” football coach Chris Klieman said. “We have a candidate interview today.”

Klieman was saying this midweek, with the Bison a couple of days from putting a 24-game winning streak on the line in Saturday’s game at Iowa State.

The last of those victories was a 35-7 rout of Towson on Jan. 4 in the FCS championship game. It was almost a relief rather than a celebration for the NDSU faithful, considering the upheaval that had taken place with the Bison program a month earlier.

Word had leaked that Bohl would be taking the head coaching job at Wyoming as NDSU was starting the playoffs as a heavy favorite. Anything less than another title would be considered failure in Fargo.

The official announcement on Bohl’s departure was made on Dec. 8, one day after an opening playoff victory vs. Furman. A week later, Taylor announced that Klieman, the defensive coordinator, would be Bohl’s replacement when the season ended.

Bohl was said to be miffed because he thought Klieman had agreed to join his Wyoming staff. Klieman and NDSU backers were suspicious that Bohl might be interested in luring a few Bison recruits to the rarefied air of Laramie, Wyo.

The title was won. Bohl departed for the immense challenge at Wyoming. NDSU got its recruits, and Klieman set about the task of replacing 12 senior starters on the depth chart.

Any time for a conversation with your former boss?

“No, but that’s because we are both so busy,” Klieman said. “Craig and I are fine. I have a lot of friends out there, on his staff, and Craig has many friends here, so we definitely are rooting for each other.”

Taylor was the athletic director who led NDSU’s charge from its comfortable place in the D-II North Central Conference to becoming a Division I athletic program. As this dream was being laid out, the 2002 Bison were going 2-8 and finishing at the bottom of the North Central.

“There was a game against Augustana late in the season, the Bison got whipped [23-6], and there weren’t more than 5,000 in the dome,’’ said Mike McFeely, a Fargo radio host and former Fargo Forum sports columnist.

It was hard to see what Taylor had as a vision at that moment. A dozen years later, the Bison have both the three consecutive FCS titles and four victories in a row over FBS opponents:

2010: at Kansas (6-3). 2011: at Minnesota (37-24). 2012: at Colorado State (22-7). 2013: at Kansas State (24-21).

What NDSU won’t have at Iowa State are some 2013 seniors from Minnesota ­— Billy Turner (Mounds View) at left tackle, Grant Olson (Wayzata) at linebacker and Marcus Williams (Hopkins) in the secondary — who will stand as legendary Bison.

NDSU does have enough to be rated No. 1 in the FCS preseason poll, but it is missing some fantastic winners. The list starts with Brock Jensen, the quarterback from Waupaca, Wis., who was in the camp of the Miami Dolphins for two stretches this summer.

“Carson Wentz has been in our program for three years,” Klieman said. “We had him ready in case something happened to Brock. Nothing ever happened to Brock, so this will be Carson’s first start.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Minnesota 94 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Houston 93 FINAL
Boston 87
Portland 99 FINAL
Atlanta 105
Sacramento 90 FINAL
Cleveland 101
Toronto 127 FINAL
Brooklyn 122
Dallas 93 FINAL
Miami 72
LA Clippers 103 FINAL
New Orleans 108
Golden State 100 FINAL
Utah 110
Chicago 93 FINAL
Phoenix 99
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 1
St. Louis 3 FINAL(SO)
Carolina 2
Nashville 0 FINAL
Colorado 3
Buffalo 2 FINAL
Vancouver 5
Chicago 4 FINAL
Anaheim 1
Harvard 75 FINAL
Princeton 72
Quinnipiac 57 FINAL
Canisius 63
Brown 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Siena 79 FINAL
Manhattan 87
Marist 65 FINAL
Niagara 61
Dartmouth 51 FINAL
Penn 58
Oregon 68 FINAL
Arizona State 67
Yale 63 FINAL
Columbia 59
Monmouth 60 FINAL
Fairfield 59
IUPUI 59 FINAL
Western Ill 63
Oregon State 34 FINAL
Arizona 57
Kent State 55 FINAL
Buffalo 80
Canisius 75 FINAL
Monmouth 58
Butler 67 FINAL
Providence 59
Cornell 65 FINAL
Brown 52
Columbia 47 FINAL
Yale 55
Coll of Charleston 47 FINAL
Drexel 64
Penn 55 FINAL
Dartmouth 39
Elon 60 FINAL
James Madison 89
(19) Princeton 96 FINAL
Harvard 46
(9) Florida State 82 FINAL
Georgia Tech 62
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Siena 62
Richmond 54 FINAL
Rhode Island 50
Loyola-Chicago 58 FINAL
Southern Ill 64
Georgetown 52 FINAL
DePaul 93
Villanova 75 FINAL
Marquette 59
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Northern Iowa 51
Xavier 65 FINAL
Creighton 74
Bradley 58 FINAL
Illinois State 55
Missouri State 89 FINAL
Drake 94
Arizona 48 FINAL
Utah 62
(11) Arizona State 68 FINAL
Colorado 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which of these teams is the most frustrating to watch right now?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close