Before we get down to the nitty gritty, one piece of conversation needs to be brought up.
Incoming NDSU freshman, welcome.
Welcome to the land of the Herd, and welcome to a great school for college athletics.
Don’t let the fact that the football team didn’t win the championship last year distract you from anything. This school is a mid-major powerhouse.
With that business taken care of, it is time to get to work because we are in need of your services.
Last year, something happened and it was something not easily seen but it was heard.
Let’s be clear, the Fargodome on gameday may be one of the loudest places in the country. It may be fair to warn you now that your hearing may be impaired after four years of games.
But the armor of the stronghold is cracking. The Fargodome fortress is not the advantage it once was.
Last year was the first time since 2010 when the Bison lost twice in the building. The sad fact is there should have been two more.
Charleston Southern had never played in Fargo before the opener last year and they took the Bison to overtime. They had a chance to win the game with a last second field goal, but the Buccaneers missed.
In the 16 seasons of NDSU football in the Fargodome, this was the first OT game in the building. NDSU was able to squeak out an opening day win.
Surely, there was going to be another long wait for more free football.
The wait was seven days. Eastern Washington, in their first meeting with the Bison since 2009, did the same. This time, the Bison needed a last gasp field goal to put it to overtime.
Cross off two teams that aren’t used to the noise going unaffected by the crowd.
Surely then, those teams that visit Fargo more often were going to do damage.
Enter sworn enemy South Dakota State. In the Dakota Marker game, NDSU’s sole trophy they play for at the moment, the Bison did their thing early. The two-score lead at halftime, though, was flattering, as the Jackrabbits left plenty of points on the board.
That is when some students committed a cardinal sin. They left early. Then the Jacks came back and shocked those fans that remained with a last second touchdown.
Things got back to normal, and NDSU took care of business. The run to a possible sixth straight championship saw the Bison trample the Jacks in the quarterfinals.
They were one win away from another trip to Frisco but then came James Madison.
The last time they came to Fargo, they were the first victims of the charge that led to five straight national championships.
This time, due to a flukey NCAA rule, they had the gall to play their intro in the Fargodome. After the game, their head coach was surprised that they weren’t booed more.
It was an eerily quiet place at times as James Madison dominated early. NDSU came back, but it was not enough.
So now, the Bison will have to chase the title. And it starts with the fans.
Incoming freshman, you will learn quickly. The student section should be a loud place.
In past years, it was believed the crowd at the Fargodome was good for a one-touchdown advantage. That is not the case now.
For students who have been to a game the past couple of years, the energy in the Fargodome pregame is palpable. By the time “Thunderstruck” ends and the lights turn on, the amount of energy is already felt.
Now, we need some reinforcements. So, for you freshman, get your tickets, get in line, get loud. We need your help because we want that national championship back.