The North Dakota State Bison are a college football team that represents North Dakota State University (NDSU) in the NCAA Division I level. They compete in the Missouri Valley Football conference and are a team with a long story in college athletics.
The university fielded their first football team in 1894 when they were originally known as the NDAC Farmers. From the early 1900s to 1921, the school was known as the North Dakota Agricultural College and the nickname of the school were the Aggies.
The school’s first coach, Henry Bolley, also fielded the first football program at Purdue in 1887 and was their first Quarterback. He then challenged the University of North Dakota to a football match in 1890, but he did not have enough players for a game until 1894. And the first official year of football at NDSU was in 1902. At the time, Eddie Cochems, often known as the father of the forward pass, was hired as head coach of the Bison. And he used his leadership to experiment with an offensive technique which became legal in the 1906 football season. Cochems went on to a 9-1 record in his 2 year stint as head coach. The college then hired Michigan halfback Paul Magoffin to take over as head coach. But he left the position after a year to join George Washington University.
One exceptional thing that came out of this early period was when Stanley Borleske became head coach. He was credited with developing the Bison mascot as he was not a fan of the “Aggies” mascot or identity. He wanted something strong and fierce to represent the school and even coined the term “Thundering Herd” to refer to the team’s fans.
In 1921, NDSU became a charter member of the now-defunct North Central Conference, where the school remained affiliated until 2003. During this period, the team played as members of Division II and called the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux (now the Fighting Hawks) their chief rival.
The Bison Today
From these origins came the athletics program that fans love today. The NDSU Bison are a strong team with a history of success. This includes17 national titles, A 41-3 Division I playoff record, and 37 Conference Titles,
(10 MVFC, 1 GWFC, 26 NCC)
About Fargodome Stadium
The Fargodome is an indoor athletic stadium, whose name is not entirely accurate. Because as it turns out, the stadium is not a domed structure. It is located in Fargo, North Dakota on the campus of NDSU. It was opened in late 1992 and is owned by the city of Fargo even while being built on university land. Though it’s primarily for football it has been used for full arena concerts. And it has a capacity of 18,700 for football games and 25,000 in concert arrangements.
The field serves as the home for the NDSU football team and is also host to NDSU’s graduation ceremonies. And as mentioned, it is often used for larger concerts, other sporting events, and trade shows throughout the year.
Originally, the building was planned to be modeled on the Tacoma Dome with an inflatable roof. But as the design evolved, the builders opted to give it a fixed hard roof instead. Despite this change, the original name, Fargodome, stuck.
The history of the Fargodome is an interesting one beginning in November 1987 when Fargo Parks Superintendent Bob Johnson proposed a plan for a convention and athletic facility in Fargo. The plan was modified the following year to include a single stadium to be built on NDSU land. Funding for this construction would come from a half-cent sales tax that voters approved late 1988. Construction began in April of 1989 and the venue was finally opened to the public in December 1992.
Shortly after, in December 1994, the venue hosted the Snow Bowl NCAA Division II football all-star game and did so until the year 2000.
Football Team Summary
The North Dakota State Bison football program plays college football at the NCAA Division I level. They compete as part of the Missouri Valley Football Conference and play out of the 19,000 seat Fargodome, located in Fargo, North Dakota.
The team has always had strong performances in the league and has easily been considered one of the harder teams to play in most of their seasons. Whether at home or away, the Bison were always charging up the field scoring and denying points. So fans were always happy to see them take to the field!
Ever since its inception, the team has proven to be built around strong and high-performing rosters. This has led them to winning 17 national championships and 37 conference championships over their long and storied career. In addition, the program has earned nine NCAA Division I FCS National Championships between 2011 and 2021 alone.
This success has led to the Bisons holding the record for most overall NCAA national championships and the record for most consecutive championships with five titles between the 2011 and 2015 seasons.
But don’t think that their success only extends into Division I play. Because it has even gone as far back as when the team was a Division II contender. The Bisons have been selected as the NCAA College Division II champions by polling three times, and won the NCAA Division II National Football Championship five times.
The 2019 team is the first of any Division I team since the 1894 Yale roster that finished 16-0. They had a long 39-game winning streak that ran from 2017 to 2020.