FARGO — North Dakota State was scheduled to start its football season Sept. 5 against the Oregon Ducks in Eugene, but that game was canceled after the Pac-12 Conference recently decided to play conference-only games for fall sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The countdown, however, continues. NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen said he would be open to finding a new opponent for the opening date under the right circumstances. The Bison currently don't have any nonconfernece games on their schedule due to COVID-19.
WDAY-TV sports director Dom Izzo is compiling memorable moments and players from program history to count down each of the 100 days leading up to the start of the regular season.
Below are Izzo's video packages that highlight from days 41-to-50 before the Bison were slated to start the season Sept. 5.
This part of the countdown includes former Bison quarterback Easton Stick, wide receiver Darrius Shepherd, linebacker Nick DeLuca, linebacker Jabril Cox, fullback Andrew Bonnet and linebacker Ramon Humber.
41: Former Bison linebacker MJ Stumpf, who wore No. 41, developed into multiple-year starter for NDSU. The Bison were 41 days out from a potential opener July 26.
#NDSUSeasonOpenerCountdown: #41: The pride of Harvey, North Dakota, who became a starter for his last two years at linebacker. An all-conference player in 2016, he was known for his loud hits, especially at the goal line at Western Illinois. Number 41, MJ Stumpf. pic.twitter.com/mNZuFdRoJi— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) July 26, 2020
42: Former Bison linebacker Jabril Cox, who wore No. 42, was a dynamic playmaker for the NDSU defense in his three years as a starter. Cox transferred to LSU this offseason.
#NDSUSeasonOpenerCountdown: #42: A tremendous player during his time in Fargo, who made an instant impact when he got on the field. The 2017 @ValleyFootball Newcomer of the Year, 2018 defensive player of the year. A three-time national champion, number 42, @_Brillo. pic.twitter.com/jMmYvPpu6T— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) July 25, 2020
43: The Bison earned a 43-17 victory against Robert Morris in 2010 to earn their first FCS playoff victory.
#NDSUSeasonOpenerCountdown: #43: November 2010. A historic night for the Bison football program, the first #FCSPlayoffs game in school history. A crowd over 12 thousand comes to the dome as NDSU knocks off Robert Morris, 43-17. pic.twitter.com/WdW5JXvzeB— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) July 24, 2020
44: The No. 44 has been worn by multiple Bison greats at linebacker, including Preston Evans and Ramon Humber. Humber went on to have a successful NFL career.
#NDSUSeasonOpenerCountdown: #44: He started as a true freshman and never left the lineup during his four years. Twice he led the Bison in tackles and was named a team captain during his tenure. Started a trend of Sioux Falls players coming to Fargo, number 44, Preston Evans. pic.twitter.com/DMbMbAtIZI— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) July 23, 2020
#NDSUSeasonOpenerCountdown: #44 (bonus): Another linebacker makes the list, a Super Bowl Champion to boot. A tremendous force on the defensive side of the ball, who became an all-league player for the Bison. Number 44, Ramon Humber. pic.twitter.com/YBNiBpXZwf— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) July 23, 2020
45: Former Bison linebacker Chad Willson played a key role in helping NDSU win its first FCS national championship during the 2011 season.
#NDSUSeasonOpenerCountdown: #45: One of the first JUCO transfers in the D1 era, he made an immediate impact in his first game at Kansas. A huge part of the first title team on defense, number 45, Chad Willson. pic.twitter.com/Dj1OUNZPm4— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) July 22, 2020
46: Former Bison fullback Andrew Bonnet, who wore No. 46, had flowing hair and a penchant for hurdling would-be tacklers.
#NDSUSeasonOpenerCountdown: #46: One of the most athletic players in recent memory, his ability to leap over defenders became legendary. A two-time all-@ValleyFootball player, the originator of "Flo-Mode"? Number 46, Andrew Bonnet. pic.twitter.com/wlz3sbcyhq— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) July 21, 2020
47: Former Bison linebacker Pierre Gee-Tucker became a fixture at outside linebacker in his final two seasons. Gee-Tucker played a role in a key defensive touchdown in a win at Iowa during the 2016 season.
#NDSUSeasonOpenerCountdown: #47: Inserted into the lineup as a true freshman, he found his way onto the field during his junior year and never left. A ferocious tackler and had the knack for making the big play, number 47, @pierre_tucker . pic.twitter.com/anCyOuyNiu— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) July 20, 2020
48: Former Bison linebacker Matt Anderson, who wore No. 48, had one of the biggest plays of his career in and FBS victory at Kansas during the 2010 season.
#NDSUSeasonOpenerCountdown: #48: One in the long line of Cavalier, North Dakota products who saved his best season for his senior year. Returned from a serious neck injury to have the game changing play in the win at Kansas. Number 48, @matty_ice101. pic.twitter.com/2KjtDhHaxc— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) July 19, 2020
49: Former Bison linebacker Nick DeLuca, who wore No. 48, had a dynamic career for the Bison with many memorable moments.
#NDSUSeasonOpenerCountdown: #49: An All-American at linebacker, who became a game changer shortly after he was inserted into the lineup in 2014 for an injured Travis Beck. Always around the football, he saved his best play for the biggest moments. Number 49, @N_DeLuca49. pic.twitter.com/EHWkiERglW— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) July 18, 2020
50: Former Bison quarterback Easton Stick fired a 50-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darrius Shepherd on a third-and-long play against James Madison to help NDSU win the FCS championship for the 201 7 season.
#NDSUSeasonOpenerCountdown: #50: The biggest play of the 2018 #FCSChampionship. It's 7-3 NDSU in the 2nd quarter, when Easton Stick connects with Darrius Shepherd for a 50 yard touchdown. It was Shepherd's first touchdown of the season. Bison would go on to win, 17-13. pic.twitter.com/smyJxnNdA6— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) July 17, 2020