FARGO, N.D. —
Think of where the Indiana State football program was in 2008 when coach Trent Miles arrived on the scene.
Then think of Indiana State’s 17-14 victory over top-ranked and defending Football Championship Subdivision national champion North Dakota State on Saturday.
Then tell me it’s not the biggest victory in Sycamores’ history. Because it is. Bar none. Take it to the bank. Write it in stone.
The Sycamores did something that seemed unlikely 24 hours ago and would have been unthinkable just four short years ago. When it comes to corner-turning moments for a program, this one will give the Sycamores whiplash.
“It’s great for our kids to win against a program like this. To say it’s the biggest win? I can’t say that. It’s the biggest win of the week,” said Miles, who prefers to be football coach, not historian.
Forget the coachspeak. Not only is it “the biggest win of the week,” it’s the biggest win of any week in ISU’s modern era of football.
It’s not the biggest win ever just because ISU won its first game in program history over a No. 1 team. Nor is it because ISU finally broke its duck against a FCS top five after 19 previous losses.
It was the way ISU went about its business to get the victory, which is to say, ISU didn’t anything out of the ordinary at all.
There was no gimmickry. No trick plays. No exotic scheme. There was no superhuman effort involved by any one player. No dumb luck. There were two turnovers returned by cornerback Johnny Towalid for touchdowns, but ISU made those plays.
ISU walked into the Fargodome, put its players on the field with a plan and the talent it has assembled, and effectively told North Dakota State to beat them straight up.
The Bison couldn’t do it. Think of the significance of that. ISU stood toe-to-toe with the best FCS team in the country and it was good enough.
That’s a massive step for the Sycamore program, though it didn’t surprise Miles.
“It’s great for our kids to get the reward. They never thought we couldn’t win. We go into every game thinking we can win. We don’t go in each week with something different. We know what we do is going to be good enough,” Miles said.
As every ISU fan is painfully aware, there’s been a lot of baby steps to go from the nation’s worst to beating the nation’s best. The 2009 victory over Western Illinois that broke the nation’s longest losing streak was an important step. Consecutive 6-5 seasons in 2010 and 2011 were two more steps.
“It’s a privilege to be at Indiana State. Back then [when ISU was losing], they probably wouldn’t have said that. But now? We went through the process and it’s a privilege to be here,” ISU cornerback Calvin Burnett said.
The triumph was a giant leap for Sycamore-kind because for all of the improvements that have been made under Miles, one thing the Sycamores hadn’t done in a regular-season game was to beat one of the MVFC’s power teams. Since Miles came to ISU, NDSU and Northern Iowa have been the league’s standard-bearers.
ISU had knocked on the door against both powerhouse programs, but now they’ve finally kicked it in. It changes the perception of the program. No longer is ISU the scrappy MVFC underdog trying to emerge from the abyss. ISU is an alpha dog in the best FCS conference in the country.
Miles has built a belief in his team, but until Saturday, there wasn’t that tangible reward — that big victory — to get everyone else to believe. Now that’s changed.
“We’re at the point now where it’s not about [lack of talented] players anymore, it’s not about facilities anymore. What it’s about is playing well on Saturdays. That’s where we’re at,” Miles said.
“You saw that today. If we do what we do, and play the best we can, it’s good enough now. It hasn’t always been the case, but now it is,” he added.
Is it ever. Beating the No. 1 team in FCS on the road is the corner ISU fans have been waiting to turn. Drink it in.
Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 231-4272 or email@example.com. Please follow him on Twitter @TribStarTodd.
FARGO, N.D. —
Think of where the Indiana State football program was in 2008 when coach Trent Miles arrived on the scene.
DeNato proves IU can pitch too
Joey DeNato dispelled the notion that College World Series newcomer Indiana is all about offense.
The junior left-hander threw a four-hitter and the Hoosiers looked mighty comfortable at TD Ameritrade Park while beating Louisville 2-0 on Saturday night.
Etherington, Moore happy to be with ISU basketball
Not even two weeks into their college experience, Indiana State freshmen men’s basketball players Alex Etherington and Demetrius Moore stood sentinel as 115 kids ran around them collecting basketballs and getting autographs at the Greg Lansing Basketball Camp on Thursday.
ISU's Johnson invited to World University Games
Indiana State senior Felisha Johnson will be traveling the world this summer after being named to represent the United States in the women’s shot put at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia.
FROM THE PRESS BOX: Close, but no cigar, theme for ISU sports in 2012-13
When I covered my first event of Indiana State’s 2012-13 season — ISU’s opening football game at Indiana — I was the first one in the press box at IU’s Memorial Stadium. I’m never the first one in the press box.
Maybe the prospect of ISU’s season had me so pumped that I decided to get it started close to three hours early? (Or more truthfully, maybe I was over-vigilent about predicted traffic horrors on the Indiana 46 bypass that never came to pass.)
Q&A: ISU football coach Mike Sanford ready for fall
It’s hard to believe, but Mike Sanford has already been Indiana State’s football coach for six months.
Time flies, but Sanford’s task of preparing for his first season in charge of the Sycamores comes with few breaks.
Rex streak ends at 7
The Terre Haute Rex table setters — Kyle Kempf and Tyler Wampler — had three of the team’s eight hits Friday at Bob Warn Field, but the Rex offense found itself in a big early deficit for the first time this season.
Manaea’s selection puts ISU in spotlight
Once the stress and hang-wringing over where Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea might get drafted was over, the angst subsided and was replaced with a happier emotion. Pride.
ISU’s Hope places 13th in NCAA pole vault
Indiana State senior Nicole Hope concluded her final competition of the 2013 outdoor season on Friday as she tied for 13th in the women’s pole vault at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Metro roundup: Former Sycamores take talents to CFL
Former Indiana State players Johnny Towalid and Justin Hilton were signed by teams in the Canadian Football League this week.
Exit Minnesota, enter Oregon State on 2016 football schedule
When the Big Ten Conference implemented a nine-game football schedule starting in 2016 and discouraged members from playing Football Championship Subdivision teams, there was one game on Indiana State’s future schedule that was likely on borrowed time.
ISU’s scheduled game at Minnesota in 2016.
METRO ROUNDUP: Swift reaches finals of NCAA Championships in 110-meter hurdles
Indiana State junior Greggmar Swift will be among the top eight in the NCAA in the 110-meter hurdles after qualifying for Saturday’s finals on Thursday.
Swift ran a time of 13.51 seconds to take third in his heat. He’ll run in either lane 1 or lane 8 on Saturday.
“I got out pretty good and then I hurdled three or four when I got bumped and it threw me off my rhythm,” said Swift, a native of Barbados. “I tried to get back my rhythm … but I held on for the third place.”
ISU's Manaea selected 34th overall by Royals
Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea selected 34th overall by the Kansas City Royals.
Sycamores ready for more NCAA track success
Five of the six Indiana State athletes in Eugene, Ore., already have had some memorable track and field careers for the Sycamores.
But they’ll go ahead and try to add to their list of accomplishments in the NCAA outdoor championships this weekend.
Dustin Betz has been a scorer and key piece of eight Missouri Valley Conference championship teams between track and cross country. He’ll compete today in the 3,000-meter steeplechase as the Sycamores’ second best in the event behind Jordan Fife.
Mike Lucas joins ISU football staff
What traits do head football coaches seek out when they hire position coaches?
Indiana State football coach Mike Sanford provided insight into that question as he hired former Southeast Louisiana head coach Mike Lucas to his staff Tuesday. Lucas will be the Sycamores’ defensive line coach.
“You have to look at your staff and see what you need. I felt like in this particular case, I wanted an experienced defensive line coach. I feel like we have a mixture of experience and youth and I want to keep that going,” Sanford said.
TODD GOLDEN: MVC Tourney can be ISU success story if work is done
Prior to last week’s Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament at Illinois State’s Duffy Bass Field, fear and loathing prevailed in some corners of the conference.
It seemed that Missouri State, Creighton, and most notably, Wichita State, had a monopoly on the season-ending tournament since the Coolidge Administration. (It had actually been since 1998.) How could the tournament make it without playing in one of the three aforementioned universities’ big venues?
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Six Sycamores heading to NCAA Track and Field championships
Three Indiana State seniors and a freshman punched their tickets Friday to the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in two weeks at Eugene, Ore. Two more got the job done Saturday on the campus of UNC Greensoboro in the East Preliminary.
Sycamores bow out of MVC Tournament
Indiana State’s baseball was out of pitching, and after a loss to Wichita State on Thursday, the Sycamores were out of second-chances too at the Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament. What the Sycamores weren’t out of was heart, guts and clutch performances from some unlikely sources. But in the end, Friday’s elimination game rematch against the Shockers was a sampling of ISU’s season overall — the Sycamores were out of luck.
Metro Sports: Chalk up No. 5 for Liz Evans
Senior Liz Evans capped the top career in Rose-Hulman athletics history with her fifth national championship and eighth All-American award at Wisconsin-La Crosse on Friday.
Four Indiana State athletes advance to NCAA outdoor track and field championships
Three Indiana State seniors and a freshman have punched their tickets to the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in two weeks at Eugene, Ore., with their Friday efforts in the 2013 NCAA East Preliminary at Aggie Stadium on the campus of North Carolina A&T.
Wichita State shuts out ISU to force elimination-game rematch
Indiana State starting pitcher Greg Kuhlman did his best.
Actually, he did far better than he ever has previously in an ISU uniform, but while Kuhlman’s gutty pitching effort spoke volumes, ISU’s bats remained ominously silent.
Indiana State baseball now one win from MVC Championship
Indiana State’s Wednesday morning wish list probably read something like this: a dominant complete game effort from starting pitcher Devin Moore, near-immaculate defense to support him, and a steady diet of clutch situational hitting from lineup spots one to nine.
Terre Haute's Mascari running 10,000 meters for chance to get to Hayward Field
Indiana State freshman and Terre Haute North graduate John Mascari is among the enormous group of Sycamores competing this weekend at the NCAA East Preliminary. The top 48 NCAA track and field competitors in each event on this half of the United States are narrowed down to 12 who will compete at the NCAA meet at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Manaea's shoulder causing him latest pain
Indiana State pitcher Sean Manaea has battled through so many aches and pains during the 2013 season that it can be hard to discern the serious pain from the pain he pitches through.
ISU's Negele answers call in big way in wake of Manaea injury
When Indiana State starting pitcher Sean Manaea slumped on the mound in obvious pain after he took his warm-up pitches, red flags raised for ISU’s Missouri Valley Conference tournament hopes.
ISU baseball hoping Manaea can get its MVC Tournament moving in right direction
Indiana State’s baseball team has been waiting all season for its stars to align.
But this is the 2013 Sycamores, after all, and after a season in which seemingly little has gone right, it appears its stars will remain crossed at the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ISU track sending record 22 to postseason
On the heels of their thrilling double victory at the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships both the Indiana State men and women moved up in the national rankings which were released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).
ISU's athletic treasure trove
Think of every championship that Indiana State has won in each of its sports, past and present. Think of every tournament — postseason or regular season — which the Sycamores have claimed as their own.
Ort sets ISU RBI record in 16-7 win
Robby Ort celebrated his Indiana State baseball Senior Day on Saturday by becoming the Sycamores’ all-time leader in RBIs as ISU ended its regular season with a 16-7 win over Bradley at Bob Warn Field.
Bradley ends 16-game MVC losing streak against ISU
Momentum was the only thing riding on Indiana State’s baseball game against Bradley on Friday. With a five-game winning streak going, ISU wanted to keep the good vibes going into next week’s Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
ISU couldn’t do it.
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