Behr: North Dakota State coach gets boost from Moore
by Steve Behr Sports Editor
Moore, the former longtime coach at Appalachian State before not being asked to return for the 2013 season, wasn't in Manhattan, Kan., with North Dakota State when the Bison stunned defending Big 12 champion Kansas State 24-21 Friday. To my knowledge, he didn't offer any strategy or scouting reports or anything like that.
Instead, he offered some words of wisdom to the Bison players and coach Crain Bohl when Moore visited the team back in the spring.
"We had Jerry Moore come talk to our football team and he was with us for three days," Bohl told The Forum (Fargo, N.D.) newspaper. "I have a note that he wrote that I kept and it said, 'You have one shot at Kansas State. Make the most of it.'"
Moore knows Bohl from their days at Nebraska, where Moore was an assistant coach of the wide receivers from 1973-77 and then the Cornhuskers' offensive coordinator in 1978. Bohl was a defensive back from 1977-80, and later was an assistant coach.
It may not be fair to say that Moore inspired the victory entirely, but he made enough of an impact on Bohl to have the Bison coach keep a note that Moore gave him.
Truth be told, it was the same type of attitude that Moore took when he led his Mountaineers to their 34-32 victory over then No. 5 Michigan in 2007. He did not see the game as a no-hoper. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity.
Three hours later after kickoff, the Mountaineers made history.
It's still the gold standard of all-time upsets. It got App State receiver Dexter Jackson on the cover of Sports Illustrated in an era when the only way an FCS player can be associated with the publication is to subscribe.
Kansas State is not ranked No. 5. In fact, the Wildcats are 26th in The Associated Press poll.
But they're still a defending champion from a power conference, and that's nothing to sneeze at either.
That 2007 App State edition has plenty in common with the current North Dakota State team. The Mountaineers, like the Bison, had won two straight Football Championship Subdivision titles.
App State made it three straight in 2007 after its 49-21 demolition of Delaware in Chattanooga, Tenn. North Dakota State has won back-to-back titles in 2011 and 2012 and is the prohibitive favorite to win a third.
But they also have sharp differences. The teams offer a sharp contrast in style. App State blazed past Michigan and Delaware with speed led by quarterback Armanti Edwards and Jackson. Running back Kevin Richardson was not a big, bruising back, but he got to point A to point B when he had to.
North Dakota State, according to three coaches I spoke to who played the Bison last year, uses brute strength to win games. The Bison grinded out a final drive on Kansas State that took 18 plays and 8:30 off the fourth quarter clock before quarterback Brock Jensen scored on a 1-yard run.
Appalachian State was a finesse bully that would take your lunch money and then say, "Catch me if you can."
North Dakota State is a physical bully that says, "I got your lunch money. Just try to take it back."
App State won't get a chance to test the Bison, at least this year, because the Mountaineers are in transition to the FBS. The teams have never met, but it would have been interesting to see the 2007 Mountaineers test their speed against the power of the 2013 Bison.
That's not going to happen. But for now, the king of the FCS mountain resides in Fargo, N.D. Kansas State is the first of many victims the Bison will beat this year.