MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Craig Bohl is coaching his final game at North Dakota State University on Saturday as the Bison face Towson in the FCS title game.

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Next stop: Taking over the football program at Wyoming. But what a ride it has been in Fargo. NDSU is playing for its third straight national championship, and Bohl is doing it with a number of Minnesota players who were overlooked by several programs, including the Gophers.

It’s clear when you talk to the players that they love their head coach.

Spend time in Bohl’s office and he’s quick to point out his philosophy. It was formed when he was an assistant coach at Nebraska.

“If you took what we did there, we just took what we did there and moved it 500 miles north,” Bohl said.

His philosophy, his program and his ideas have all worked. The Bison have won consecutive FCS national titles and play Saturday for No. 3.

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“A lot of those guys didn’t get looked at by Big Ten schools, but by gosh a lot of them believe they are Big Ten football players,” Bohl said. “Through a lot of hard work and determination, we’ve got a lot of good players on our team.”

Bohl has found a blend of high-end and hungry talent from Minnesota. The came to North Dakota State in large part because of him.

“He is an amazing guy. He’s a guy that I love going to war for. I love going out there and battling for him,” said running back John Crockett.

“Coach Bohl is a good guy, he does a great job up here,” said offensive lineman Billy Turner. “If it wasn’t for him, a lot of us wouldn’t be up here. If it wasn’t for him, I certainly don’t think I would be up here.”

Saturday, Bohl will coach a program for the final time that he helped get to FCS status. He’ll be reminded of what he told folks when he got to Fargo.

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“For me when I interviewed, I envisioned a national championship,” Bohl said. “To return NDSU to national prominence. It felt like in our in our geographical area with the resources we had that we could win a national championship.”

Mike Max