Sports

North Dakota State sets sights on record 4th straight Football Championship Subdivision crown

  • FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2013 file photo, North Dakota State wide receiver Zach Vraa (82) carries the football after a pass reception against Indiana State in an NCAA college football game in Terre Haute, Ind. The Bison are on a quest for a fourth straight Football Championship Subdivision title. They open their season Saturday, Aug. 30 against Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Brent Smith, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2013 file photo, North Dakota State wide receiver Zach Vraa (82) carries the football after a pass reception against Indiana State in an NCAA college football game in Terre Haute, Ind. The Bison are on a quest for a fourth straight Football Championship Subdivision title. They open their season Saturday, Aug. 30 against Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Brent Smith, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2013 file photo, North Dakota State running back John Crockett (23) is knocked out-of-bounds short of the goal line by Coastal Carolina defenders in an NCAA college football game in the quarterfinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in Fargo, N.D. The Bison are on a quest for a fourth straight Football Championship Subdivision title. They open their season Saturday, Aug. 30 against Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Kevin Cederstrom, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 14, 2013 file photo, North Dakota State running back John Crockett (23) is knocked out-of-bounds short of the goal line by Coastal Carolina defenders in an NCAA college football game in the quarterfinals of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in Fargo, N.D. The Bison are on a quest for a fourth straight Football Championship Subdivision title. They open their season Saturday, Aug. 30 against Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Kevin Cederstrom, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2013 file photo, North Dakota State defensive coordinator Chris Klieman speaks at a news conference in Fargo after begin promoted to head coach. He took over for Craig Bohl, who went to Wyoming after leading the Bison to three straight Football Championship Subdivision titles. The Bison open their season Saturday, Aug. 30 against Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Dave Kolpack, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 15, 2013 file photo, North Dakota State defensive coordinator Chris Klieman speaks at a news conference in Fargo after begin promoted to head coach. He took over for Craig Bohl, who went to Wyoming after leading the Bison to three straight Football Championship Subdivision titles. The Bison open their season Saturday, Aug. 30 against Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Dave Kolpack, File)  (The Associated Press)

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.