NDSU Fever Hits St. Cloud Ahead of Championship Game [VIDEO]
ST. CLOUD -- Bison fever has taken over the Granite City. Local fans will be cheering in green and gold as North Dakota State University makes its seventh appearance in the NCAA Division I FCS championship since 2010.
They will be facing the Eastern Washington University Eagles on Saturday.
Wayne Schluchter is a graduate of Tech High School and former NDSU football player and team captain who also spent many years as a Tech football coach. He says he sees a growing fan base of Bison alumni in the St. Cloud area.
…and the student population has grown. You know when I went there, there were 4,000 students back in the late ‘70s. Today there’s, depending on if you’re counting graduate students or not, 14,000-15,000 students on campus. So it’s tripled at least. So again you have more people with degrees looking for places to work and St. Cloud’s a viable place to work.
Three students on this year's team have ties to the St. Cloud area: freshman strong safety James Kaczor of St. Cloud, sophomore linebacker Beau Pauly of Becker, and sophomore offensive tackle Dillion Radunz of Becker.
James Kaczor’s mom Ruth Kaczor says this season has been a great adventure for her son.
Well, it’s been very fun. I mean as a freshman it’s a huge privilege to even be able to get on the field and play. He’s had some really great experience on special teams and gotten to travel with the team, and now, of course, being able to think about playing in a national championship as a freshman in college is kind of unique and special, and a little overwhelming too.
The Kaczor family has a strong connection to football, and local support for the team has meant a lot to them.
The hotbed of that support is the Ultimate Sports Bar & Grill in Waite Park, which will surely be jam-packed with Bison fans looking to watch Saturday's big game. Tom Frericks has owned the bar for 33 years and says he’s grateful for the loyal fan base.
If you do this as long as I have, you get a lot of raucous environments a lot of times especially when you’re dealing with sports. These people cheer, do their chants, do their songs, and never ever leave this place outside of happy and go-lucky.
Kick-off for the title game is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. The game will be available for viewing at Ultimate as well as on ESPN2.