FARGO - North Dakota State has produced its fair share of All-American offensive linemen. You would be hard pressed to pick two better than Billy Turner and Joe Haeg.
Turner, a four year starter at left tackle for the Bison from 2010-13, left Fargo as a two-time All-American and three-time national champion. He was replaced by Joe Haeg, who moved from right tackle to left, he also was a two-time All-American and won five national titles. Each were drafted into the NFL, Turner in the third round in 2014 by Miami, Haeg in the fifth in 2016 by Indianapolis.
Now each have the opportunity to play on the biggest stage. The Super Bowl. Turner's Green Bay Packers face Haeg's Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday in the NFC Championship Game.
"It's not surprising that they're competing against one another to reach the pinnacle of the sport in the Super Bowl." said Conor Riley, NDSU's offensive line coach from 2014-18. He was the Bison tight ends coach in 2013.
Turner was moved to left tackle for last week's Packer game with the Rams. Turner had a near perfect performance in blocking for Aaron Rodgers.
#NDSUSeasonOpenerCountdown: #77: A four year starter, two-time All-American, started 56 games and won three national championships. Drafted in the 3rd round of 2014 NFL Draft, entering his 7th year in the league. A future Bison Hall of Famer, number 77, @Big_Mountain77. pic.twitter.com/RaxE42ecpY— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) June 20, 2020
"You go into a game of that magnitude and don't hesitate and you know that moment isn't too big for Billy." Riley said.
Turner is in his second year of a four year, $28 million deal with the Packers. He has moved positions going from right guard to left tackle after All-Pro tackle David Bakhtiari tore his ACL before the final game of the regular season.
Meanwhile for Haeg, the former walk-on has literally played all over the field blocking for Tom Brady.
"If you include preseason games, Joe has played every position on the offensive line, if not started at every position, which includes center and he told me that was a humbling experience." Riley said.
Haeg signed a one year deal with Tampa Bay back in March. He did not play in the first four regular season games, but has played in every game since, including the two playoff wins for Tampa, at Washington and against the Saints.
#NDSUSeasonOpenerCountdown: #59: One of the best offensive linemen in school history, a former walk-on who became a four year starter. A two-time All-American, who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, he will now block for Tom Brady. Number 59, @JoeHaeg59. pic.twitter.com/urUTb30Ga5— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) July 8, 2020
"Both of them belong, they've proven time and time again they belong."
Tampa Bay play at Lambeau Field Sunday afternoon at 2. The Buccaneers beat the Packers 38-10 on October 18th.