The ramp up to the 2021 North Dakota State football season continues on the Bison Media Zone.
This week we'll focus on the best individual players that the Bison will face this season.
Missouri State was one of the top stories of the spring as Bobby Petrino saw a huge turnaround with a program that had been in the doldrums of the FCS for nearly two decades. The Bears were co-champions of the Missouri Valley Football Conference in the spring and made the playoffs, losing to North Dakota.
A big reason for the turnaround was the Bears defense, which was led on the back end by cornerback Montrae Braswell. Braswell, who transferred to Springfield from Central Michigan was an instant impact guy, racking up 37 tackles and three interceptions. The three picks were tied with NDSU's Dom Jones for league high honors.
Braswell was a one man wrecking crew in the Bears win at South Dakota with a kick return touchdown and a pick six in the game. He added interceptions against Western Illinois and Northern Iowa to go along with a fumble recovery against the Bison. He was selected as a first team All-Valley defensive back to go along with the newcomer team.
His play and all of the Bears defense was a huge reason why Missouri State became a player in the league this spring. The big question going forward will be if the Bears can continue that trend moving into the fall. Braswell will have his hands full trying to stop some of the best receivers in the league from Christian Watson to Avante Cox to Isaiah Weston.
Braswell and Mo State will be challenged right out of the gate with Big 12 power Oklahoma State and then a good Central Arkansas team that has solid wide receivers. We'll see how the Bears respond with some expectations attached to the program for the first time in 20 years.