NDSU players handle FCS eve with easeFRISCO, Texas — D.J. McNorton will reflect, Coulter Boyer will relax and Andrew Grothmann will hopefully get some sleep.
By: Eric Peterson, Forum Communications Co.
FRISCO, Texas — D.J. McNorton will reflect, Coulter Boyer will relax and Andrew Grothmann will hopefully get some sleep.
That’s a sampling of how North Dakota State players planned to handle the eve of today’s Division I Football Championship Subdivision championship game.
“I’ll have a better answer for you tomorrow, after tonight,” said Bison senior offensive tackle Paul Cornick said at Friday’s Bison news conference. “I already feel it starting to build and build and you get that feeling, under 24 hours ‘til game time. But we’ve prepared hard and we worked hard for the last three weeks.”
Those three weeks of preparation will be put to the test at noon today when the Bison (13-1) face unbeaten Sam Houston State (14-0) for the national title at FC Dallas Stadium.
Both teams are playing in their first FCS championship game.
Grothmann, a sophomore fullback for the Bison, has tried to pile up the Zs earlier this week because he figured they would be hard to come by the night before game day.
“I’ve been sleeping, taking naps the other days to build up to this night, but I probably won’t sleep,” said Grothmann, who is from Hillsboro, N.D. “We’ll see.”
Sam Houston State running back Tim Flanders hasn’t had a problem sleeping the night before games and didn’t think championship eve would be any different.
The 5-foot-9, 210-pound sophomore has rushed for 1,560 yards and 22 touchdowns to lead the Bearkats.
“We’ve been doing the same thing all season. We always have a team meeting,” Flanders said. “I’m able to get a good night’s rest every time. I just go in, read a book, read a couple verses out of the bible, just listening to some music. Basically relax my mind.”
Boyer, the senior NDSU defensive end whose job it will be to help corral Flanders, said he would keep it simple the night before the game, not getting too amped up too soon.
“I mean, the game doesn’t start until tomorrow at noon,” Boyer said late Friday afternoon. “So to get overly excited right now probably doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. So I’ll probably try to relax and every few minutes maybe go back to my notes, try to picture something in my head, hopefully it plays out like I want it to.”
McNorton, the NDSU senior running back, is set to play his final college game in his home state. He said his preparation would include thinking about the ups and downs this team has navigated to get to this moment.
“It’s been that slow build throughout the week, that slow build of anticipation and anxiousness and getting ready to play this game,” said Bison senior linebacker Preston Evans.
NDSU head coach Craig Bohl said he would be able to rest easier on the game’s eve, knowing the preparation his team put in over the past three weeks.
“To lay my head down on a pillow tonight knowing that our guys are well prepared when we tee it up, it’s going to be a great experience to go out, and we’ll find out who the best team is,” Bohl said.
Peterson is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.