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Jeff Kolpack, Published September 21 2013

Kolpack: Memorable and long day ends with fitting crescendo

Fargo - Appropriately, the day ended with the ol’ Gatorade shower on the Ol’ Ball Coach. Perhaps thousands of North Dakota State fans should have doused themselves with water, too.

What a day.

There were more records by coaches and NDSU players than in a museum of vinyl albums. Not sure who was more worn out when the final buzzer sounded at 5:25 p.m.: Delaware State after taking a 51-0 pounding at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome, or the Bison maniacs who started the day before the sun came up.

It was a college football Woodstock.

The collective energy the thousands of fans brought all day was enough to power the town during a 30-below winter storm. Forgive them if there are some tired eyes at church this morning.

Just when you think it will just be another week leading up to a weak FCS nonconference opponent, the program brings you something that left the stars of ESPN football talking like it was the best three-hour show they’ve ever done. Maybe it was.

The excitement was off the charts.

I walked onto Broadway before 7 a.m. and it felt like it was 7 p.m. before the Rolling Stones took the Fargodome stage a decade ago. Even the Ol’ Ball Coach, Craig Bohl, admitted to being nervous before going on a live interview with Samantha Ponder in the first hour of the show.

He finished the day as the program’s all-time leader in victories with 92. Quarterback Brock Jensen broke the school’s all-time completions and total offense records, and cornerback Marcus Williams tied an FCS record for interceptions and interceptions for touchdowns.

Williams also put the final touch on the afternoon. He said he got messages from friends who lined up for the ESPN show at 2 a.m.

“You guys are really dedicated,” he said of the fan base. “I just give all the thanks to them. They travel with us. They do everything with us.”

They even watched Lee Corso break new ground with the “GameDay” show: a live buffalo during the prediction segment.

“Really?” said running back John Crockett. “I wish I could have seen that. I would have totally ridden it.”

Crockett brought his own Corso-like prop to the postgame news conference: a stuffed Tazmanian devil. It’s a symbol of him in pads.

“If you don’t know me, I’m wild on the field,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do to calm me down. That’s just me.”

Crockett had the best statistical day of anybody with 85 yards on nine carries. Zach Vraa led 11 players who caught at least one pass with six receptions. Everybody played.

But Saturday was not about yards or touchdowns. It was a festival. When Chris Fowler said in a Twitter message that it was one of his favorite “GameDay” shows ever, that is saying something. He’s been doing the show since before a lot of these Bison players were born.

This was not a football game vs. Delaware State.

This was another celebration in the most important decision that ever happened in Fargo: the move to Division I.

“To have a national show like that which not only showcases FCS but North Dakota State, I never thought or dreamed about that,” Bohl said.

Nobody did.

Fans getting up at 5 a.m. for the greatest college football show ever? Yelling all morning? Tailgating until kickoff? Yelling again in the dome?

Time for a nap.


Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia