North Dakota State's quest for a record four straight Football Championship Subdivision titles will be built around a defense that returns six starters.
The Bison bring back strong safety Colton Heagle, who was a nominee for the Buck Buchanan Award as the best defensive player in FCS.
Last year's team leaders in tackles, sacks and interceptions are back, too. NDSU also has running back John Crockett and wide receiver Zach Vraa, who set a school record last year with 15 touchdown receptions.
There are holes to fill. The Bison lost its quarterback, four starters on the offensive line and three starters on the defensive line.
NDSU head coach Chris Klieman (KLY'-min) says the newcomers have looked good in practice but isn't sure how they'll respond Saturday at Iowa State.