FootballScoop is proud to announce that David Braun (North Dakota State) is the 2021 FootballScoop FCS Coordinator of the Year, presented by AstroTurf as selected by prior winners.
After a brief but dramatic drop-off in the spring 2020-21 season, North Dakota State emphatically returned to form for the fall season -- and did so thanks to a vintage season from its trademark defense.
Heading into the FCS National Championship -- the program's ninth appearance in 11 tries, carrying in an 8-0 record -- North Dakota State is top-12 in every major defensive category.
It begins, as it always does, up front.
The Bison are third in FCS in rushing defense at 82.7 yards per game, limiting opponents to 2.72 yards per carry and just six touchdowns on 425 attempts. The last team to simply crack 100 yards against the Bison was South Dakota State, way back on Nov. 6.
NDSU is also adept at rushing the passer, tying for fourth nationally at 3.5 sacks per game.
That pass rush feeds the Bison's elite pass defense. Opposing passers complete 58.1 percent of his passes for 177 yards per game (6.1 per attempt) with 11 touchdowns against 13 interceptions -- good for a 111.93 rating that places 10th in FCS.
Add it all up and you get a defense that, through 14 games thus far, has fielded 831 plays for 3,636 yards -- 4.38 a play and 259.7 per game -- with 17 total touchdowns. Their 11.2 scoring average leads FCS. Seven opponents did not score double digits, two failed to score at all, and a third (Indiana State) mustered only a safety.
As one would expect, opponents do not fare well in the red zone, when they manage to get there. In 24 trips, the Bison have yielded 11 touchdowns. On third down, foes are 50-for-190, a 26.3 success rate that ranks second in FCS.
A Winona State graduate, Braun entered coaching immediately as a GA. He left two years later to become the defensive coordinator at Culver-Stockton College, then returned the following year as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. He returned to California in 2015 as the defensive line coach at UC Davis, then got the D-line job at Northern Iowa in 2017. He's been North Dakota State's defensive coordinator and safeties coach since 2019.
The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by AstroTurf are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Mike Cooke [Sacred Heart], Jason Eck [South Dakota State], Corey Heatherman [James Madison], Dennis Thurman [Jackson State], Greg Stevens [Southeastern Louisiana], and Braun) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.
Previous winners of the FCS Coordinator of the Year award are Heishman Northern (Prairie View A&M, 2008), Bob Shoop (William & Mary, 2009), Nick Rapone (Delaware, 2010), Scott Stoker (Sam Houston State, 2011), Chris Klieman (North Dakota State, 2012), Sterlin Gilbert (Eastern Illinois, 2013), Don Bailey (Idaho State, 2014), Lyle Hemphill (Stony Brook, 2015), Phil Longo (Sam Houston State, 2016), Bob Trott (James Madison, 2017), Matt Entz (North Dakota State, 2018), Shane Montgomery (James Madison, 2019), and Ryan Carty (Sam Houston, 2020).
1st Nationally -- Scoring Defense
3rd Nationally -- Total Defense
2nd Nationally -- Third Down Defense
3rd Nationally -- Rushing Defense
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