Rare are the times when something is inevitable yet unlikely. With the run that the NDSU football team has been on since 2011, it is an accurate assessment. They managed to win their way to a staggering seventh consecutive semi final game. The first was a loss to Eastern Washing, the rest wins against all comers. That brings us to last night.
The latest comer for the crown were the James Madison Dukes. Kind of a lame mascot, but their play made up for that in spades. I saw the offense they put up over their run to Fargo but coming off last weeks route of SDSU I thought the defense would be able to at least contain them and even dominate them. I didn't know about this running back though.
Jerick McKinnon's come to town, handled.
David Johnson's come to town, handled.
Khalid Abdullah came to town and did the handling. That dude only affirms my opinion that this class of running backs in the draft is going to be obnoxiously deep and potential historically good. I love that for my Vikings but it was tough to watch when it came time for the Herd. The only knock on his game seemed to be his straight line speed and maybe his pass blocking, but I didn't notice that being a weakness or not.
Taking handoffs and catching passes, the guy was dangerous from start to finish. The Bison were able to make some adjustments and show him up some in the second half but he still managed to break out when it mattered most. It's been said that Football is ultimate team game. Last night all it took was the one guy to power them to a 17 - 0 lead and then again to help them to regain the lead in the fourth quarter.
NDSU just wasn't up for it last night. Hate to say it but the truth isn't always pleasant. James Madison was just better last night. They won't have that bad man so a rematch between the teams won't be the same if it happens next year, but it would have been nice to see the Bison at full strength against him and them.
I wasn't planning on making this a Khalid Abdullah love fest but he was the best player on the field and defined the story of the evening.
For the Bison grads, it was surely a sad night and a sad morning but without knowing their mental health status I would guess that they'll move on. The NDSU athletics machine churns out successful men and woman. Some of these guys may find their way onto NFL rosters next year, some may never return to the halls they've haunted. I can only hope that they will remember the good times that were so abundant. Whatever the case, thank you for the memories!
For those who will be back: this team will be back and has a great chance to be better then the one that has now been eliminated. After the last playoff loss they rattled off five straight championships. No telling if that can happen again, but history often repeats itself and championships are the standard on the north side of Fargo.
Let's not get hung up too long on last night, but instead look forward to what may be ahead!