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Players from Omaha once again help North Dakota State reach national title game

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Marques Sigle

Omaha North grad Marques Sigle is among North Dakota State's leaders in pass breakups (4) and passes defended (5). He made the Missouri Valley Conference all-newcomer team.

Marques Sigle got firsthand information about North Dakota State's powerhouse football program from one of its own.

Sigle was a junior at Omaha North when he started training at a gym co-owned by Christian Dudzik, who started 61 games in the secondary and won four FCS titles for the Bison in the early 2010s.

"He helped prepare me for what was coming at NDSU," Sigle said.

Sigle, a cornerback, got an NDSU offer, and his visit gave him a feel for the program's winning culture.

"It felt like home," said Sigle, who won a state title at North in 2017.

Now Sigle, a redshirt freshman, will have an opportunity to win a championship ring at the FCS level as the Bison play Montana State at 11 a.m. Saturday on ESPN2. While NDSU has won eight national titles since 2011, Montana State is playing its first final since 1984.

Omaha-area players have played pivotal roles on the Bison's title teams. Dudzik was a Skutt graduate. Easton Stick — currently a backup quarterback for the Los Angeles Chargers — and receiver RJ Urzendowski went to Fargo from Creighton Prep. Millard North's Nick DeLuca and Papillion-La Vista's Jalen Allison were multi-year starters on defense.

This year's NDSU squad includes freshmen Sigle, quarterback Cole Payton (Westside) and safety Tyson Gordon (Skutt).

NDSU Omahans

North Dakota State has three players from Omaha on this year's team: Marques Sigle (North), Cole Payton (Westside) and Tyson Gordon (Skutt).

Sigle's role on the defense has grown as the season's progressed. Despite coming off the bench, he's among the team leaders in pass breakups (4) and passes defended (5). At the end of the regular season, Sigle was named to the Missouri Valley Conference all-newcomer team.

"That came as a surprise because I wasn't getting as many reps early in the year," he said. "It just showed that hard work pays off, and I was getting more reps at the end of the year."

On Oct. 30, Sigle had four tackles and a 36-yard interception return in a 44-2 win over Indiana State. Two plays after the pick, Payton scored on an 18-yard run.

Sigle had three tackles in the semifinals, a 20-14 win over James Madison. He said he's become more comfortable within the defense, and taking a redshirt last season has been vital for his improvement.

"It helped me make the plays I'm making today," Sigle said. "Most of my freshman year was just learning the playbook. Now I don't have to think about the playbook, I can just play and work on my technique."

The final features two of the best defenses in FCS. NDSU (13-1) allows an FCS-best 11.2 points per game and is third in run defense, allowing 82.7 yards. It set a single-season school record with 49 sacks. Montana State (12-2) is second nationally in scoring defense (13.4) and hasn't allowed more than 22 points in a game this season.

"Our goal was to be here," Sigle said of the championship game in Frisco, Texas. "Now we have to make the best out of it."

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