Jeff Kolpack, Published October 06 2012
Kolpack: Marcus Williams is there again with big play for Bison defense
His anthem “Nutrigrain Bar” with Turner repeating the line “Nutrigrain bar in my Mercedes” over and over was approaching 1,000 hits on YouTube by the time unbeaten NDSU took the Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome to face unbeaten Youngstown State on Saturday afternoon. You probably know him better as Billy Turner, the 6-foot-6, 300-pound standout Bison left tackle.
We’re not sure if Turner was humming his song at halftime, but he just as well could have. NDSU had a stunning 35-7 lead at intermission in a matchup of the No. 1 team in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision vs. the No. 3 team in Youngstown. The reason for the big lead was NDSU’s Mercedes on the field: Marcus Williams.
He did it again – turned a game around by himself – by returning an interception 98 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Instead of Youngstown on the doorstep of tying the game 14-14, it was 21-7, and that was the start of a 48-7 rout before a home-record 19,065 fans.
That’s 19,065 fans who could have spent the fourth quarter watching “Nutrigrain Bar” on their smartphones. NDSU was so good that it took its own crowd out of the game in the second half.
It’s debatable, but that could have been the most impressive Fargodome performance since the big brick building opened in 1993.
“Certainly an impressive win,” said Bison head coach Craig Bohl. “Youngstown is a very good football team and they’re going to win a lot of games.”
The previous four meetings against Youngstown were all decided by eight points or less. And Bohl sarcastically wasn’t exactly thrilled when a member of the ESPN “College GameDay” crew picked the Bison.
“I was really getting concerned when Lee Corso picked us, because that’s usually the kiss of death,” he joked.
The real kiss of death, however, is when teams try to throw it Williams’ way. He’s now returned four interceptions for touchdowns. Facing third-and-6 at the Bison 16-yard line, the timing in quarterback Kurt Hess’ pass looked off and Williams returned it the other way.
Bohl called it a “masterful play.”
“In big games, big-time players make big plays, and that’s what he did,” said Bison linebacker Grant Olson.
We’ll have to take Olson’s comments on the interception as the sole player version because Williams, as has been the case since the petition fraud case was revealed a month ago, was unavailable for comment. That was a disappointing move in an otherwise glorious afternoon.
The football program put the issue to bed this week when the players pleaded guilty, the university president and athletic director answered questions and the head coach made his decision. It was over for everybody involved.
Guess what? The issue just got brought up again, in this space. It was brought up again in the Associated Press story, for Williams not being available for comment on the game’s biggest play.
It was one yard short of the school record set by Peter Gergen in 1927 against DePaul.
It was almost historic. It was a beauty.
“It was a 14-point swing,” Olson said. “If he doesn’t make that play, it’s a completely different ballgame.”
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia