North Dakota State Bison football

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North Dakota State Bison Football
2014 North Dakota State Bison football team
First season 1894
Head coach Chris Klieman
1st year, 8–0 (1.000)
Home stadium Fargodome
Year built 1992
Stadium capacity 19,000
Stadium surface AstroTurf Magic Carpet II (2012)
Location Fargo, North Dakota
League NCAA Division I FCS
Conference Missouri Valley Football Conference
Past conferences Great West (2004–2007)
North Central (1922–2003)
All-time record 674–369–35 (.641)
Postseason bowl record 7–5 (.583)
Playoff appearances 19
Playoff record 14–1 (Div. I FCS)
30–12 (Div. II)
Claimed national titles 11
Conference titles 30

Green and Yellow

Fight song On Bison
Mascot Thundar
Marching band Gold Star Marching Band
Rivals South Dakota State University (Dakota Marker)
University of North Dakota (Nickel Trophy)

The North Dakota State Bison football program represents North Dakota State University in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision level and competes in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The Bison play in the Fargodome located in Fargo, ND. The Bison have won 11 National Championships and 30 Conference Championships and are the three-time defending NCAA Division I-FCS National Champions (2011, 2012, 2013). NDSU has currently won 32 straight games, the longest streak in NDSU and D1-FCS history; it is the 5th longest streak in the history of college football; only 7 other teams in the history of Division 1 college football have won more games in a row . The Bison have not lost a road game since 2010. In the final AP Football Poll of the 2013-14 season; after their third consecutive National Championship, North Dakota State finished with 17 votes which ranked them at #29 in all of D1 football, the highest of any team in the history of FCS football. Since 2011, the North Dakota State Bison have a record of 51-2 (.962) making them the most successful college football program this decade at any level. The Bison are 104-29 (.782) since moving to Division I in 2004. Since 1964, the Bison have had only 3 losing seasons and an overall record of 462-131-4 (.777) through that 51 year span, one of the best in all of college football. Of all teams established after 1894, only Oklahoma has won a higher percentage of their games than NDSU.


1894–1921: Beginnings[edit]

The Bison fielded their first team in 1894 and were originally known as the NDAC Farmers.[1] From the early 1900s to 1921, the North Dakota Agricultural College (Later renamed North Dakota State University) mascot was the Aggies. The first coach coach for the new NDAC football team was Henry Bolley, who also fielded the first football program at Purdue University in 1887 and was their first Quarterback. He challenged the University of North Dakota to a football match in 1890, but did not have enough players until 1894, the first official year of football at NDSU. In 1902, Eddie Cochems, known as the father of the forward pass was hired as head coach of the Bison where he experimented building an offense around his new technique; which subsequently became legal in the 1906 college football season; Cochems went 9-1 in his 2 year stint as head coach. The college hired famed Michigan Halfback Paul Magoffin, the first player to ever catch a forward pass in 1907, as head coach, but he left for the head coaching position offered to him by George Washington University a year later. The 1918 season was cancelled due to the outbreak of the Spanish Flu in conjunction with the first World War. The 1943 and 1944 seasons were also cancelled due to World War II and the shortage of eligible players. Keeping with their Michigan favoritism, the NDAC hired Stanley Borleske in 1919 to coach the football, basketball, and baseball teams. After six years of coaching and a 36-36-7 record, Borleske left for Fresno State but is largely credited with developing the Bison mascot. It was well known he was not a fan of the "Aggies" mascot, wanting something 'strong and fierce' he came up with the 'Bison' which remains the mascot today. He also coined the term "Thundering Herd" which is still a common reference to the NDSU Bison Football fanbase.[2]

1922–2003: Division II[edit]

Oct 20th, 1928 - NDAC (NDSU) vs. St. Thomas (View looking SE with Ceres Hall in the distance) Courtesy: NDSU Institute for Regional Studies

In 1921, NDSU became a charter member of the now-defunct North Central Conference, which they remained affiliated with for 82 years until 2003. Their primary rival during this time were the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux (who have since changed their nickname) whom they competed with to win the Nickel Trophy. As members of Division II, they won 8 national championships with an overall record of 347-94-4 having only 2 losing seasons from 1964-2003.

2004–Present: Division I (FCS)[edit]

In 2004, all North Dakota State athletic teams moved to Division I. From 2004 to 2007, the Bison were members of the Great West Football Conference. Since 2008 they have been affiliated with the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Since moving to Division I, their primary rival are the South Dakota State University Jackrabbits whom they compete with each year for the Dakota Marker. The team's former head coach was Craig Bohl, who led the Bison from 2003 to 2014, holds the school record for most wins by a head coach. At the beginning of the 2014 football season the Bison had a Division I record of 102-29 and has been coached by Chris Klieman since 2014.

The NDSU Bison are the only FCS program to ever be ranked higher #34 in the AP National Football Poll. After the 2011 Championship Game, the Bison became only the second team in FCS History to receive votes in the final AP Top 25 with 2, putting them at #32 overall (FCS Record); the other being Appalachian State who receive 5 votes after their third consecutive FCS Championship in 2007 and ended at #34. After the 2012 season, the Bison again broke the barrier and became the first ever FCS team to breach the poll twice by receiving 1 vote and ending at #36 in the nation. Due to the overwhelming support and attention NDSU got during this run, ESPN announced that it would host its ESPN College GameDay program in downtown Fargo on September 21, 2013. The Bison ended up beating Delaware State 51-0 later that day. The Bison finished the 2013 regular season with an undefeated 11-0 record, their first perfect season since 1990. The Bison became the first FCS team to ever finish the regular season ranked on the AP Poll at #34 with 1 vote. After a perfect season (15-0) and winning their third consecutive championship game. After the 2013 season, the Bison were ranked #29 in the National Division I AP Poll, tallying a massive 17 votes, far beyond what any other FCS team had ever received.

In 2014, after beating their 5th consecutive FBS team, Iowa State, and their subsequent game against Weber State; which was their 26th straight victory, ESPN again announced they would bring their College Gameday program back to downtown Fargo on September 13, 2014 to cover the Bison's amazing run for the second straight year. The visit marked first time the show has ever visited the same FCS school twice and only the 6th time they have visited a non-FBS school since 1993. The Bison have currently spent a record 24 straight weeks atop the FCS coaches poll and have been #1 the Sport Networks FCS Poll 31 times in 38 weeks. The Bison have also not lost a road game since their 31-38 OT loss against Eastern Washington in 2010, a span of 21 straight road wins (FCS Record). The Bison have also won 15 straight home openers since their 1999 loss to Ferris State and are 21-1 in home openers since the Fargodome opened in 1992.

Collectively, the Bison have won 30 conference championships, and 11 national championships. They were selected as NCAA College Division II champions by polling three times (1965, 1968, 1969), won the NCAA Division II National Football Championship five times (1983, 1985, 1986, 1988, 1990), and have won the NCAA Division I Football Championship three times in consecutive seasons (2011, 2012, 2013).[3] From 2012 to present, the Bison have an FCS record of 31 straight wins, which is tied for the 7th longest streak in NCAA Division 1 football history. The Bison football program has had only 3 losing seasons since 1964.

Historically, only 5 teams established after 1893; Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Florida, and Clemson have won more total games than NDSU's 673. But only Oklahoma has a better winning percentage than NDSU's 0.641% all time.

The 2013 Bison[edit]

The 2013 Bison team is considered by many to be one of the best teams in the history of the FCS having a perfect 15-0 season (the first program to do that since Marshall in 1996) and winning their third consecutive national championship (tying an FCS Record), with a majority of the starters playing in all 3 national championship games and going 43-2 in their 3 year stint, a number unrivaled in Division 1 FCS football. The Bison only lost 2 games in the three year span by a combined 6 points. The Bison became the first FCS team to ever finish the regular season ranked on the AP Poll in 2013 at #34 with 1 vote. After the 2013 playoffs, the Bison were ranked #29 in the National Division I AP Poll, tallying a massive 17 votes, far beyond what any other FCS team had ever received and nearly entering the AP top 25. Through 2013, the Bison outscored their opponents by a combined 581-169 (+412) on the season; only two other teams in FCS history have had a larger point spread through a season (1996 Marshall +448) and (1999 Georgia Southern +485). Unlike the Marshall and Georgia Southern teams, NDSU's defense their opponents to just 127 points in the regular season (11.5 ppg) and just 11 ppg through the playoffs that year. NDSU ran through the playoffs with an average margin of victory of 32.75 points, just behind the 1996 Marshall team which averaged a 34 point spread. In 2013, the Bison tallied 3 shutouts, and held 9 teams to 10 points or less including a streak of 9 consecutive Quarters without allowing a point. The defense was known for a ground and pound strategy which wore opponents down and controlled the time of possession, averaging over 34 minutes of possession per game in 2013 while allowing an average of just 250 yards of opposing offense, much of which came at the end of the second half when the Bison subbed in second stringers. From 2011-2013, the Bison defense in the 12 playoff games they played allowed an average of just 9.3 points per game, an FCS Record. The only playoff loss the seniors experienced in their 4 year career was the 38-31 OT loss at Eastern Washington in the FCS Quarterfinals in 2010 on questionable call and rainy night; Eastern Washington won the National Championship that year. The span of seasons that culminated for NDSU in the years after that overtime loss is arguably the best and most dominate years Division 1 football has seen from a single team.[4]

Current Streaks & Records[edit]

As of Oct 25th, 2014

  • 32 Consecutive Wins (FCS Record) (5th Longest in D1 History, One of only 7 teams to reach 32 consecutive wins in Division I History) [5]
  • 3 Consecutive National Championships (tied FCS Record)
  • 3 Consecutive Conference Championships
  • 9 Consecutive Weeks being ranked in the AP NCAA Football Poll
  • 5 Consecutive Winning Seasons (51 winning seasons in last 54 years)
  • 4 Consecutive Playoff Appearances
  • 5 Consecutive Wins against FBS Competition (FCS Record)
  • 29 Straight Weeks at #1 in the FCS Coaches Poll
  • 36 Consecutive Non-Conference Home wins
  • 16 Consecutive Home Opening Wins (Since 1999) (21/22 Overall in Fargodome)
  • 17 Consecutive Wins against the Missouri Valley Conference (Conference Record)
  • 18 Consecutive Home Wins
  • 22 Consecutive Road Wins (Since 2010) (FCS Record)
  • 12 Consecutive Playoff/Post-season Wins (FCS Record)
  • 42 Consecutive Games scoring at least 14 points
  • 56 Consecutive Games without being shut out
  • 742 Calendar Days without losing a game

National Championships[edit]

North Dakota State has won 11 National championships; 8 as a member of Division II and 3 as a member of Division I (FCS). The Bison have been the runner-up 3 times.

Year Coach Selector Record Score Opponent
1965 Darrell Mudra NCAA DII by Polling 11-0 20-7 Grambling State
1968 Ron Erhardt NCAA DII by Polling 10-0 23-14 Arkansas State
1969 Ron Erhardt NCAA DII by Polling 10-0 30-3 Montana
1983 Don Morton NCAA DII Playoff 12-1 41-21 Central State
1985 Earle Solomonson NCAA DII Playoff 11-2-1 35-7 North Alabama
1986 Earle Solomonson NCAA DII Playoff 13-0 27-7 South Dakota
1988 Rocky Hager NCAA DII Playoff 14-0 35-21 Portland State
1990 Rocky Hager NCAA DII Playoff 14-0 51-11 IUP
2011 Craig Bohl NCAA DI 20 Team Playoff 14-1 17-6 Sam Houston State
2012 Craig Bohl NCAA DI 20 Team Playoff 14-1 39-13 Sam Houston State
2013 Craig Bohl NCAA DI 24 Team Playoff 15-0 35-7 Towson University

Record against FBS competition[edit]

Overall (8–3)

Season Opponent Division Result Score Record
2006 Ball State MAC W 29-24 1-0
2006 Minnesota Big Ten L 9-10 1-1
2007 Central Michigan MAC W 44-14 2-1
2007 Minnesota Big Ten W 27-21 3-1
2008 Wyoming Mtn West L 13-16 3-2
2009 Iowa State Big 12 L 17-34 3-3
2010 Kansas Big 12 W 6-3 4-3
2011 Minnesota Big Ten W 37-24 5-3
2012 Colorado State Mtn West W 22-7 6-3
2013 Kansas State Big 12 W 24-21 7-3
2014 Iowa State Big 12 W 34-14 8-3
2016 Iowa Big Ten TBD TBD TBD
Total 8-3

Conference championships[edit]

North Dakota State has won 30 conference championships; North Central Conference (26), Great West (1), Missouri Valley (3)

Year Conference Overall Record Conference Record Coach
1925♦ North Central 13-8-2 4-0-2 Ion Cortright
1932 North Central 7-1-1 4-0 Casey Finnegan
1935 North Central 7-1-1 4-0-1 Casey Finnegan
1964♦ North Central 10-1 5-1 Darrell Mudra
1965 North Central 11-0 6-0 Darrell Mudra
1966♦ North Central 8-2-0 5-1 Ron Erhardt
1967 North Central 9-1 6-0 Ron Erhardt
1968 North Central 10-0 6-0 Ron Erhardt
1969 North Central 10-0 6-0 Ron Erhardt
1970 North Central 9-0-1 6-0 Ron Erhardt
1972♦ North Central 8-2 6-1 Ron Erhardt
1973♦ North Central 8-2 6-1 Ev Kjelbertson
1974♦ North Central 7-4 5-2 Ev Kjelbertson
1976 North Central 9-3 6-0 Jim Wacker
1977 North Central 9-2-1 6-0 Jim Wacker
1981 North Central 10-3 7-0 Don Morton
1982 North Central 12-1 7-0 Don Morton
1983 North Central 12-1 8-1 Don Morton
1984♦ North Central 11-2 8-1 Don Morton
1985 North Central 11-2-1 7-1 Earle Solomonson
1986 North Central 13-0 9-0 Earle Solomonson
1988 North Central 14-0 9-0 Rocky Hager
1990 North Central 14-0 9-0 Rocky Hager
1991 North Central 7-3 7-1 Rocky Hager
1992 North Central 10-2 8-1 Rocky Hager
1994♦ North Central 9-3 7-2 Rocky Hager
2006 Great West 10-1 4-0 Craig Bohl
2011♦ Missouri Valley 14-1 7-1 Craig Bohl
2012 Missouri Valley 14-1 7-1 Craig Bohl
2013 Missouri Valley 15-0 8-0 Craig Bohl
Total 30 Conference Titles
Denotes a tie for first place and conference co-champion

Playoff history[edit]

Division I (FCS)[edit]


North Dakota State has appeared in 4 straight NCAA Division I FCS playoff berths, which they became eligible for in 2008. As of 10/25/2014, the Bison have posted a 104-29 record in Division I play. Since the beginning of 2011, NDSU has won 3 National Championships and gone 51-2 which includes a 32 game winning streak; the longest streak in both NDSU and D1-FCS history. It is the 5th longest win streak in all of Division 1 College Football History; only 7 other college teams have won more straight games. The ESPN television program, "ESPN College Gameday" made a surprise visit and hosted their program from downtown Fargo on Sep. 13th, 2013 to cover NDSU's amazing run and returned for a second straight season on September 13, 2014.

Year Seed Record Result Opponent Score Head Coach
2010 #16 2-1 Quarterfinals #5 Eastern Washington University 31-38(OT) Craig Bohl
2011 #2 4-0 Champions #1 Sam Houston State 17-6 Craig Bohl
2012 #1 4-0 Champions #5 Sam Houston State 39-13 Craig Bohl
2013 #1 4-0 Champions #7 Towson Tigers 35-7 Craig Bohl
Totals 14-1 (.933)

Division II[edit]


North Dakota State appeared in 23 NCAA Division II Playoff Berth's from 1964 to 2003. During this stretch NDSU compiled a massive 347-94-4 winning almost 80% of their games for 4 decades and claiming 8 Championships along the way. NDSU appeared in 7 out of 10 Championship games from 1981-1990; an unrivaled number in DII as they posted an astounding 111-16-2(.875) mark in that decade. While this is a startling record, from 1964 to 1973 the Bison went 90-12-1(.887) which included a 35 game unbeaten streak.

Year Record Result Game Opponent Score Head Coach
1964 1-0 Winner Mineral Water Bowl Western State 14-13 Darrell Mudra
1965 1-0 Champions Pecan Bowl Grambling State 20-7 Darrell Mudra
1967 0-1 Runner Up Pecan Bowl Texas-Arlington 13-10 Ron Erhardt
1968 1-0 Champions Pecan Bowl Arkansas State 23-14 Ron Erhardt
1969 1-0 Champions Camellia Bowl Montana 30-3 Ron Erhardt
1970 1-0 3rd Place Camellia Bowl Montana 31-16 Ron Erhardt
1976 1-1 3rd Place Semifinals Montana State 10-3 Jim Wacker
1977 1-1 3rd Place Semifinals Jacksonville State 31-7 Jim Wacker
1981 2-1 Runner Up Championship Texas State 42-13 Don Morton
1982 1-1 3rd Place Semifinals UC Davis 19-14 Don Morton
1983 3-0 Champions Championship Central State 26-17 Don Morton
1984 2-1 Runner Up* Championship Troy 18-17 Don Morton
1985 3-0 Champions Championship North Alabama 35-7 Earle Solomonson
1986 3-0 Champions Championship South Dakota 27-7 Earle Solomonson
1988 4-0 Champions Championship Portland State 35-21 Rocky Hager
1989 1-1 Quarterfinals Jacksonville State 21-17 Rocky Hager
1990 4-0 Champions Championship IUP 51-11 Rocky Hager
1991 0-1 1st Round Mankato State 27-7 Rocky Hager
1992 1-1 Quarterfinals Pittsburg State 38-37(OT) Rocky Hager
1994 1-1 Quarterfinals North Dakota 14-7 Rocky Hager
1995 1-1 Quarterfinals Pittsburg State 9-7 Rocky Hager
1997 0-1 1st Round Northwest Missouri State 39-28 Bob Babich
2000 2-1 Semifinals Delta State 34-16 Bob Babich
Totals 35-13 (.729)
  • At the end of the 1984 championship game NDSU took the lead on a field goal making it 17-15 with 1:36 left; after being on the Troy 2 yard line and settling for 3 points. Troy subsequently drove down the field with no timeouts to the Bison's 33 yard line with :15 remaining. With apparent confusion on the field Troy rushed the field goal team out on the field and freshman kicker Ted Clem kicked the longest field goal in Troy history of 50 yards as time expired to give the Trojans the victory.

Head coaching history[edit]

Chris Klieman is the 30th and current head coach of the Bison who has a 8-0 record as head coach since he began in 2014. Craig Bohl holds the record for most wins in school history with 104 in his 10 year career averaging over 10 wins per season. Rocky Hager holds the record for most conference titles won with 5.

# Coach Years Active Record Conference Titles
1 Henry Luke Bolley 1894–1899 7-8-1 NA
2 Jack Harrison 1900–1901 15-1-1 NA
3 Eddie Cochems 1902–1903 9-1-0 NA
4 A. L. Marshall 1904–1905 4-7-1 NA
5 Gil Dobie 1906–1907 8-0-0 NA
6 Paul Magoffin 1908 2-3-0 NA
7 Arthur Reuber 1909–1912 12-7-1 NA
8 Howard Wood 1913–1914 5-5-2 NA
9 Paul J. Davis 1915–1917 10-7-1 NA
10 Stanley Borleske 1919–1921, 1923–1924, 1928 20-18-5 NA
11 Joe Cutting 1922 6-2-0 0
12 Ion Cortright 1925–1927 13-8-2 1
13 Casey Finnegan 1928–1940 57-48-11 2
14 Stan Kostka 1941, 1946–1947 8-17-0 0
15 Robert A. Lowe 1942–1945 3-9-2 0
16 Howard Bliss 1948–1949 3-16-0 0
17 Mac Wenskunas 1950–1953 11-21-1 0
18 Del Anderson 1954–1955 1-17-1 0
19 Les Luymes 1956 5-4-0 0
20 Bob Danielson 1957–1962 13-39-2 0
21 Darrell Mudra 1963–1965 24-6-0 1
22 Ron Erhardt 1966–1972 67-7-1 3
23 Ev Kjelbertson 1973–1975 17-13-0 2
24 Jim Wacker 1976–1978 24-9-1 2
25 Don Morton 1979–1984 57-15-0 4
26 Earle Solomonson 1985–1986 24-2-1 2
27 Rocky Hager 1987–1996 91-25-1 5
28 Bob Babich 1997–2002 46-22-0 0
29 Craig Bohl 2003–2013 104-32-0 4
30 Chris Klieman 2014- 8-0-0 0
Totals 674-369-35 30

2014 coaching staff[edit]

Name Position
Chris Klieman Head Coach
Tim Polasek Offensive Coordinator/Runningbacks Coach
Matt Entz Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
Randy Hedberg Quarterbacks Coach
Jamar Cain Defensive Ends Coach
Conor Riley Offensive Line Coach
Nick Goeser Recruiting Coordinator
Tyler Roehl Tight Ends/Full Backs Coach
Joe Klanderman Defensive backs Coach
Open Offensive Assistant
Joseph Blackmore Defensive Assistant

All-Time statistical leaders[edit]

Single-game leaders[edit]

  • Passing Yards: Steve Walker (451, 2006)
  • Rushing Yards: Tyler Roehl (263 2007)
  • Receiving Yards: Len Kretchman (232, 1988)

Single-season leaders[edit]

  • Passing Yards: Brock Jensen (2,793 2013)
  • Rushing Yards: Lamar Gordon - (1,727 2000)
  • Receiving Yards: Zach Vraa - (1,191 2013)

Career leaders[edit]

  • Passing Yards: Brock Jensen - (7,651 2010-2014)
  • Rushing Yards: Lamar Gordon - (4,700 1997-2001)
  • Receiving Yards: Kole Heckendorf (2,732 2005-2008)
  • Wins: Brock Jensen‡ - (47, 2010-2014)[6]

Denotes FCS Record

Notable players[edit]


The Fargodome


External links[edit]