Towson coach Rob Ambrose compares North Dakota State to 'Ivan Drago'

Comparison to Soviet Union juggernaut seems appropriate, but could two-time reigning national champs fall just as Drago did?

December 26, 2013|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

North Dakota State has built itself into a juggernaut in the Football Championship Subdivision, winning the last two national championships and going 23-0 since its last loss on Oct. 13, 2012, when Indiana State pulled off a 17-14 upset in Fargo, N.D.

The Bison, who are 14-0 and the No. 1 seed in the NCAA playoffs, will meet No. 7 seed Towson (13-2) in the title game on Jan. 4 at 2 p.m. at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.

Coach Rob Ambrose was quite complimentary on Monday of the team standing in the Tigers’ path to the program’s first national crown.

"North Dakota State is perfect," he said. "It's not just their record. Their program is perfect. Looking for holes on their offense or defense or special teams, they don’t have them. The 11 players they put on the field are as good, if not better at their positions, than anybody else in the country.

"There’s a reason that they’re undefeated and have not lost a game in no-one-knows-how-long. They have resources, they have a following, they are consistent. They are the Ivan Drago of I-AA football. They are perfect."

Ambrose was referring to the fictional boxer in "Rocky IV." Played by actor Dolph Lundgren, “Drago” was the behemoth from the Soviet Union who compiled a 100-1-0 record as an amateur, boasted a punching power that was three times as devastating as the average boxer's, and was trained as the top physical specimen in his sport.

But "Drago" ended up losing to "Rocky Balboa" – played by Sylvester Stallone – by knockout in the 15th and final round. Was there something at play behind Ambrose comparing the Bison to the seemingly invincible fighter who lost to a physically shorter but just as powerful opponent?

We will find out on Jan. 4 if life imitates art.

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