North Dakota boy Beck comes up big for Bison

North Dakota State’s Travis Beck is mobbed by teammates after his interception on Saturday, Jan. 7, in Frisco. David Samson / The Forum

FRISCO, Texas — Even a U.S senator approved this storyline.

A small-town North Dakota kid being named the most valuable player of a national title game, playing linebacker for North Dakota State.

That drama played out Saturday at FC Dallas Stadium.

Bison freshman Travis Beck had a critical 63-yard interception return in the fourth quarter, which led to a touchdown. That play helped NDSU slam the door on a 17-6 victory over previously unbeaten Sam Houston State for the Division I Football Subdivision Championship title.

"A freshman from North Dakota is the MVP of the national championship game, isn't that something?" North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven said. "That's a great story."


North Dakota State linebacker Travis Beck intercepts a pass intended for Sam Houston State wide receiver Torrance Williams on Saturday, Jan. 7, in the Football Championship Subdivision title game in Frisco. David Samson / The Forum

The story got better in the postgame news conference when Beck apologized to his grandpa, Norman Wirth, for falling a yard short of returning the interception for a touchdown.

"And grandpa Wirth, if you're watching," Beck said with a laugh. "I'm sorry I didn't get that touchdown like you said. But maybe next year."


Beck grew up near tiny Calio, went to high school in Munich and played football for Langdon. He was jokingly asked if all 30 people from Munich were going to celebrate the victory.
"They're probably all down here," Beck cracked.

Travis Beck fans show their support at FC Dallas Stadium Saturday, Jan. 7, in Frisco, Texas. David Samson / The Forum


He estimated around 25 of his family members were at the game.

"If we had more tickets I'm sure it would have been more," Beck said.

The Bison held a 10-6 lead in the fourth quarter when Beck delivered.

Sam Houston State faced a third down-and-13 from the Bison 48.

Beck dropped into coverage. He intercepted Bearkats quarterback Brian Bell near the Bison 35-yard line.

After he secured the ball, Beck cut back across the field and picked up a crunching block from Bison defensive back Christian Dudzik,

North Dakota State's Travis Beck heads upfield after snaring an interception Saturday, Jan. 7, during the FCS Championship game in Frisco, Texas. David Samson / The Forum


"I heard that," Beck said.

Beck raced up the Bison sideline and after he got inside the 10-yard line, launched himself toward the end zone. Beck came up short, but that set up a first-and-goal at the 1.

Quarterback Brock Jensen scored on the next play. That gave NDSU a 17-6 lead with 8:45 remaining in the game.

"I'm sure it will sink in maybe on the plane ride or maybe this week," Beck said. "I hope it will sink in, not now."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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