Kolpack: Williams turning into a Bison greatFARGO — The question came up earlier this week concerning Fargo Davies High School, in its first year of existence. How can the school have homecoming, when all the students are technically home?
By: Jeff Kolpack, Forum Communications Co.
FARGO — The question came up earlier this week concerning Fargo Davies High School, in its first year of existence. How can the school have homecoming, when all the students are technically home?
North Dakota State had to be wondering about the validity of the yearly event in its own back yard. That clean, crisp offense the Bison showed in the first three games of the season had some clanks and clunks through the first two quarters and the first possession of the second half.
Illegal motion penalties and a couple of fumbles came out of the woodwork in the big brick building on the north side of Fargo. Then Illinois State tried to do what nobody should try to do in the next two and a half years: try to pick on cornerback Marcus Williams.
Let’s call it right now: He’s making a strong push to overtake Tyrone Braxton as the best cornerback to ever put on a Bison uniform. He’s been here one year and four games, and Tyrone is already getting a run for his status power.
The latest example came on a day where, at this rate, Williams will eventually return to Fargo: homecoming and his own Bison Hall of Fame induction.
A sellout crowd of 18,904 fans saw the Bison defense score for the fourth time in five games – dating back to Williams’ interception return in the playoffs at Eastern Washington last year. This time, safety Bobby Ollman returned a Matt Brown pass 82 yards for a touchdown in the 20-10 victory at the Fargodome.
It was Williams, however, who turned this game around.
The Redbirds were within breathing distance of taking the lead in the third quarter. They started at the Bison 31 and, after recovering a Brock Jensen fumble, took just four plays to reach the 7.
On third-and-goal, Brown sent a corner pass to receiver Matt Younger, who was one-on-one with Williams. Don’t have to tell you who won that jump ball.
Williams snagged it and took off the other way.
“It was a huge play,” said ISU head coach Brock Spack. “We needed points down there and we didn’t need to under-throw a fade route.”
Williams appeared on the verge to making it a 100-yard return for a touchdown when he slipped around the Illinois State 45-yard line while making a cutback.
“I’m like, ‘Take a knee,’” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl of Williams’ return. “Then I’m like, ‘Run, Marcus, run.’”
The Bison scored five plays later and instead of trailing 10-7, they led 14-3 with 7:39 left in the third quarter.
It was Williams’ sixth career interception and it came one game removed from clinching the victory over Minnesota last week by returning an interception for a touchdown late in the game. His dive into the TCF Bank end zone was something you usually only see on Sundays.
“Ability wise, he’s as good as any corner I’ve coached,” said NDSU defensive backs coach Chris Klieman. “What separates Marcus is he’s so coachable. He wants to know the tendencies of what the offense is doing. He’s become so well-versed in understanding the game of football and I’ve seen a lot of good players that don’t get that.”
In the world of Twitter, Williams should change his identification to SDC1, for Shut Down Corner and his jersey number.
He finished with nine tackles and two pass breakups in addition to his pick. And his effort came against a quarterback, Brown, and an ISU offense in general that shredded the Bison last year in Normal, Ill.
“He’s probably one of the best corners that we’ll play all year,” Brown said. “I’m not sure who else could take that top spot, but he’s up there.”
When Williams first got to fall practice last year, he was the fifth cornerback on the depth chart. It didn’t him long to get a starting spot.
And it hasn’t taken him long to ascend to one of the best ever. He’s only a sophomore, so let’s not get too giddy.
But you get the point where this is going.
Kolpack is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.