Along the way to compiling a 14-0 record, extending a winning streak to 23 consecutive game and earning the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision tournament, North Dakota State has tangled with, and quieted, a number of talented running backs.
But Bison coach Craig Bohl conceded that Towson junior Terrance West — he of the FCS single-season record of 2,410 rushing yards and 41 total touchdowns — is unlike any tailback his defense has faced.
“He’s at the top of the list, and his numbers bear that out,” Bohl said Friday afternoon during a conference call. “You have a guy that’s 220 pounds, has been productive all season long. He’s not a scatback. He’s a powerful runner. He sees the field well, and their offensive line blocks well for them. That will be the whole key for us.”
West, whose 83 career touchdowns have him closing in on former Villanova star Brian Westbrook’s 90 scores, has benefited from running behind an offensive line with four three-year starters. But Bohl said it would be a mistake to assume that blocking schemes are the sole reason for West’s success.
“That’s typical of a good offensive line, but moreover a very capable running back,” Bohl said. “Sometimes those strategies when you say you’re going to stack the line of scrimmage up there, what you find is when a guy pops, he goes a long, long way. It’s going to be important for us to be assignment-conscious and playing disciplined [defense]. That in itself will lend itself to more gang tackling, and pursuit angles will be really critical. For us to say that we’re just going to go in there and eliminate them, I think that’s not realistic. But we’ve got to be the best we can to try to contain them.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun