North Dakota State’s football team is not flashy.
You won’t see the Bison throw it 48 times per game, like Murray State’s KD Humphries, who attempted 532 passes in 11 games this season.
You will see the Bison stick to its game plan, game in and game out.
Playing tough defense, run the football down its opponent’s esophagus and control the time of possession.
NDSU’s head coach Chris Klieman hit it on the head:
“It’s not that difficult to play defense when you know you’re only going to be out there for three to five plays, get off the field and go drink Gatorade for six, seven, eight, nine minutes,” Klieman said after the Bison won its fifth straight national championship Saturday. “Time of possession is not an underrated statistic. The more you can wear a defense down, the better it is for your offense, but the better it is for your defense because you’re always staying fresh.”
It seems so absurd that a team can hold the football for an average 36 minutes per game.
NDSU finished first in the FCS for time of possession, flaunting its stat in the title game. The Herd held the football for 40:51 against Jacksonville State University.
JSU led the FCS in points per game. The team was held to just 10 points, all of which came in the third quarter.
You can’t score if you don’t have the football.
You’d think that other programs would try to copy NDSU’s game plan.
The green and gold became the first team in modern college football history to win five straight titles, and in those five championship games, NDSU has outscored its opponents 157-63. The champs have beaten their opponents by double-digits all but once.
But season in and season out teams continue to try light up the scoreboard.
“That’s the nature of everything is fast-pace and no-huddle, and I get it,” Klieman said about other offenses in college football. “But for us, this works for us and we’re not going to change.”
And for obvious reasons, NDSU doesn’t need to change.
The Herd has shown the college football world that playing a fullback, having your quarterback set up under center and running the play clock under five seconds before snapping the football works.
Will the college football world listen?
Most likely not, because it isn’t sexy running the football six straight times to start a title game, but it sure as hell works.
One title is exciting, two titles is impressive, three titles is a university-changer, four titles is a dynasty and five straight titles is just scary, because no one knows when the streak will end.
NDSU will of course enjoy this historic moment, but the team will meet later in January about, “staying humble and hungry,” as its head coach preaches.
Championship teams enjoy their success, but they are never satisfied.
Strength and conditioning coach Jim Kramer won’t even let the Bison wear their championship clothing in the weight room.
And Klieman said, “We don’t talk about that stuff. It’s just attack the process.
“We’re going to attack the process, which is the off-season, and get guys better and better and win the day next year and keep winning plays. It’s coach Kramer and it’s our assistant coaches. It’s the culture.”