When Mr. FCS thinks about the big championship game pick, it reminds him of Shawshank Redemption and that Morgan Freeman line.
“I look back on the way I was then, a young, stupid kid who [made that mistake]. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him. Tell him the way things are. But I can’t.”
What in the blue blazes am I talking about?
Well, I can’t go back and rewrite that column from August. I know, earth shattering, right? What I’m talking about is a column I wrote before the Montana loss, that said I guarantee North Dakota State won’t win a fifth title this year. I chalked it up to parity, balance within the FCS ranks—not necessarily because there was anything wrong with the Bison. Well, there was parity this year, definite balance … but it didn’t matter.
Even missing its soon-to-be-millionaire NFL Draft Pick quarterback (Carson Wentz) to injury, North Dakota State blazed an 8-0 trail through the competition, pummeling it. And now, as of Friday's huge breaking news, Wentz is back in the starting lineup. Goodness gracious, how is that fair?
How can you not go with North Dakota State in this one? But yes, it will be close. Very close. And you want to know what the difference will be? Well, yeah–Wentz will be huge. But I'm going with NDSU placekicker Cam Pedersen—who just like his clutch team all of these years will make the play when it is needed. His recent field goal misses haven’t cost NDSU anything, and this weekend when he must be a pivotal player in the outcome—he will get it done.
See, that’s the thing—North Dakota State loses games from time to time.
In the regular season.
But in the postseason, it’s like the Bison have a magic potion they drink prior to warmups. Last year they won three of their four playoff games by 7 points or less. In all three, they were behind in the fourth quarter. This year they’ve blown the roof off of the playoffs—but they know from last year how to rally if needed.
So who am I to think that’s going to end anytime soon, especially with the emotional lift the program will get by having Wentz in pads and ready to go?
I love Jacksonville State’s program. Quarterback Eli Jenkins is a class act who we here at HERO Sports have gotten to know, and he will have a good game and an outstanding senior season this fall. Neither team is going to run away with this one, and guess what? Jacksonville State will hold a lead in the fourth quarter.
I guarantee that.
But North Dakota State will come away with the win, 27-24. And yes, the field goals will be golden in this win.
When it matters most, the Bison get it done—and that includes the much-maligned Pedersen, who will be hoisted into the air by his teammates, with his 2015 struggles behind him.
And hey, it’s not 2015 anymore anyway, eh?
Buy a bigger trophy case, NDSU … you're going to need it.