North Dakota State coach Craig Bohl keeps a note that he received from his former position coach at Nebraska.
“You have one shot at Kansas State,” the note said. “Make the most of it.”
Bohl and the Bison did just that, knocking off the defending Big 12 champion Wildcats 24-21 in a stunner on Friday.
Was it as stunning as Appalachian State’s win over perennial power Michigan in 2007, the most famous of victories by NCAA Division I championship subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) over bowl subdivision (Division I-A) powers?
The note came from Jerry Moore, who coached Appalachian State to that victory.
Moore and Bohl are friends, bound by Nebraska. Bohl played there in the late 1970s, while Moore was an assistant there.
Moore visited the Fargo, N.D., campus last spring and addressed the Bison, who this season are bidding to join Appalachian State as the only programs to win three straight I-AA football championships.
North Dakota State, top-ranked in I-AA, scored the game-winning touchdown after driving 80 yards in 18 plays over 8 1/2 minutes.
“That’s part of who we are,” Bohl said. “We played for that drive. We squeezed every possession out of that drive.”
The Bison overcame a 21-7 third-quarter deficit to pick up perhaps the biggest victory in school history.
“We have a remarkable program,” Bohl said. “We’ve had a lot of victories, but never over a program like this.
“I don’t know if our players really understood the type of program we were facing. For me personally, I know what we were facing.”
The victory was especially sweet for free safety Christan Dudzik, who contributed a 49-yard punt return to the cause. Dudzik went to high school in Omaha, Neb., but spent his youth in Topeka — as a huge K-State fan. He remembers the Michael Bishop jersey he once received for Christmas.
“I looked up at where I saw for all those games I went to as a kid,” Dudzik said. “This is an awesome feeling.”