North Dakota St. RB Wilson says four-game rule a blessing
FRISCO, Texas — There is no more saving anything for North Dakota State running back Seth Wilson. But whether that means the Bison sophomore is ready to go Saturday, Jan. 5, for the NCAA Division I FCS national title game may still be somewhat in question.
Wilson says he is.
“It’s been a long roller coaster, but it all has an end and I’m ready to go,” he said at the media session Thursday, Jan. 3.
Wilson hurt his hamstring, probably for the third time this season, in the semifinal victory over South Dakota State. He couldn’t finish an explosive 78-yard run against the Jackrabbits coming up a few yards short of the end zone.
“It couldn’t take that kind of pressure, holding that speed for that long,” he said. “The strength and stamina wasn’t what it used to be.”
At the least, Wilson — who played as a true freshman — will get this season over again thanks to the NCAA’s four-game redshirt rule. Players who did not redshirt can play up to four games without losing a year of eligibility.
He said NDSU head coach Chris Klieman handled the four-game maximum to perfection. Wilson first suffered a hamstring injury in the second week of fall camp. He reinjured it during the season, which at that point discussions began on saving this season.
“He did a great job of communicating with me on what they planned on doing,” Wilson said of Klieman. “He was helping me keep a good mindset so I didn’t drop off. It’s hard watching when you want to be playing, so he helped me keep my mindset. It worked out as planned. I think it’s amazing. I can still continue to play for this program for three more years after this season. It’s a blessing.”
NDSU running back Bruce Anderson, who was also hurt in the Jackrabbits game, said he’s ready to go.
No decision on Tiuli yet
Eastern Washington standout nose tackle Jay-Tee Tiuli was part of the Eagles’ team photo on Thursday afternoon at Toyota Stadium. The senior was suspended for EWU’s semifinal win over Maine after being charged with a felony assault.
Eastern head coach Aaron Best said nothing has changed with Tiuli. He said the matter is still in the university’s hands.
“We should have a decision by (Friday) evening,” Best said. “Unfortunately we would like it sooner than later, but Jay-Tee is in-tow with us. Until I hear back, I have no new news on the subject.”
Asked if Tiuli is practicing with the team, Best said, “He will be with the team during practice sessions, but so are the other 30 guys who aren’t going to suit up but are along with us.”
EWU coach: 2010 title a long time ago
The title game Saturday represents seven of the previous eight champions since Frisco secured the bid to host the game. Eastern won in 2010 and the Bison took the championship in six of the last seven years.
Best, who was an assistant on that 2010 team, said memories from that season have faded. For one, he’s more concerned about all the details this week.
“A lot of those memories are kind of lost,” he said. “Heck, I can’t remember my 10-year-old’s birthday sometimes. People ask how it was nine years ago? You have a few memories but not a ton.”
The Eagles came back from a 19-0 deficit to defeat Delaware 20-19.
Bison have a chance at a perfect season
The last FCS team to go undefeated on the way to a national championship was the 2013 NDSU team with a 15-0 record. This year’s Bison team can match that with a victory against Eastern Washington on Saturday.
NDSU safety James Hendricks said this team has a chance to leave a legacy if it can defeat the Eagles.
“We can be pretty special and have a pretty special legacy here at NDSU,” Hendricks said.
Entz named FCS coordinator of the year
NDSU defensive coordinator and future head coach Matt Entz was named the 2018 FootballScoop FCS Coordinator of the Year presented by AstroTurf on Thursday.
Entz, in his fifth season as NDSU’s defensive coordinator, leads a Bison defense that has allowed less than 14 points per game over the past five seasons and has consistently ranked in the top five of FCS in scoring defense and total defense.
NDSU (14-0) is currently second in the nation in scoring defense allowing 11.8 points per game, the fourth best mark in Missouri Valley Football Conference history, and the Bison are fifth in the FCS in total defense allowing 284.4 yards per game.
The award winner is selected by previous winners. Current NDSU head coach Chris Klieman, who will be Kansas State’s next head football coach, was the 2012 winner as NDSU’s defensive coordinator.