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Ten Years Gone: Marcus Williams on a magical night in Minneapolis

The Bison returned to the Twin Cities in 2011 and left with a second straight win over the Gophers

North Dakota State's Marcus Williams dives for a touchdown on an interception to seal the win over Minnesota on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn. David Samson / The Forum
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Can it really be ten years since North Dakota State fans were treated to "UNI loud?"

Ten years since the first showdown with Georgia Southern, ten years since the Bison beat down at TCF Bank Stadium.

It was a memorable team filled with memorable players. Players that lived thru a 3-8 season in 2009 and two years later, won a national championship in Frisco, Texas.

Over the next three months, WDAY Sports Director Dom Izzo will visit with players and coaches from that team and look back at some of the biggest games and most memorable moments.

September 24, 2011 is a magical night for Bison football fans. North Dakota State returned to the Twin Cities for the third time in six years to match up against the University of Minnesota.


The Bison had defeated the Gophers 27-21 in 2007, which proceeded a 10-9 loss in 2006. Jerry Kill was in his first year as head coach at Minnesota after leaving Northern Illinois and had warned his team about how talented a squad they were about to face.

For Minneapolis native Marcus Williams, this was a game that he had circled on his calendar since arriving in Fargo in 2009. The former Hopkins standout had been recruited by Minnesota, much like his teammates Grant Olson, Billy Turner, Leevon Perry and Cole Jirik, but did not receive a scholarship.

Marcus Williams
Photo by Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co. North Dakota State's Marcus Williams scores a touchdown after picking up a fumble off an intercepting against Minnesota on Saturday at TCF Stadium in Minneapolis.

Williams had already established himself as a great player in his redshirt freshman season, registering four interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. He became a Bison legend on this night.

With NDSU leading 21-14 late in the first half, Gopher quarterback MarQueis Gray threw a ball into double coverage and was intercepted by Bison safety Colten Heagle. As Heagle was about to be tackled he dropped the ball into the waiting hands of Williams. Williams scooped it up and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown to end the half, stunning the crowd.


Bison Rewind: Mastery in Minneapolis, NDSU knocks off Gophers
He wasn't done in the second half. With NDSU leading 31-24 late in the fourth quarter, Williams intercepted Max Shortell returning it 40 yards and diving into the endzone for a dramatic touchdown and put the finishing touches on a 37-24 win.

Williams joins Dom Izzo to look back at the win and what it did for the Bison football program in the Twin Cities and beyond.

NDSU tight end Matt Veldman celebrates the Bison 37-24 defeat of the Gophers on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011, at the TCF Stadium at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

WDAY Sports Director Dom Izzo looks back at the 2011 NDSU title team

WDAY Sports Director Dom Izzo looks back at the 2011 NDSU title team

Dom Izzo is the Sports Director at WDAY-TV. He began working for WDAY in 2006 as the weekend sports anchor and was promoted to Sports Director in 2010.
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