Joe Lund couldn’t have envisioned a better way to end his college football career at North Dakota State University in Fargo. He was part of a national championship team and also received one of the top national awards a college offensive lineman can receive.
The Bloomington Kennedy High School graduate was the starting center for the Bison as they won their second NCAA Division I FCS national championship with a 39-13 victory over Sam Houston State Jan. 5 in Frisco, Tex.
NDSU finished the season with a 14-1 record and boosted its national football championship total to 10.
Lund also started for the Bison in last year’s 17-6 national title win over Sam Houston State. NDSU finished with a 14-1 record.
“Winning national championships never get old,” said the 6-foot-2, 303-pound Lund. “Both championships were pretty special.
“It’s been a fun five years at NDSU. Attending NDSU after high school was the best decision I could have made. I learned so many valuable lessons on and off the field.”
Lund helped open huge holes for Bison backs to power through in the decisive championship win over Sam Houston State.
“It was a hard-fought game against Sam Houston,” recalled Lund. “But we were able to pound the ball offensively and wear down their defense.”
Lund and his Bison teammates survived a strong challenge by Georgia Southern in the national semifinals before pulling out a 23-20 victory in a packed FargoDome Dec. 14.
“It was a great atmosphere and game when we played Georgia Southern at home,” said Lund. “We had a standing-room only crowd of about 20,000 on hand for that game that was televised nationally.
“The crowd was so loud I couldn’t hear what our coaches and players were saying on the sidelines. But our fans held down their noise when we were on offense so we could hear our quarterback’s signals.”
Rimington Award winner
Lund savored his team’s national championship season but also appreciated an elite individual award. He received the 2012 Rimington Award at the NCAA FCS, Divsion II, Division III and NAIA levels. This honor is given to the most outstanding center in the country.
Lund became the second NDSU player to receive the Rimington Award, joining Rob Hunt who received the honor in 2004. Dave Rimington, the award’s namesake, was a consensus first-team All-America center at the University of Nebraska in 1981 and 1982, during which time he became the John Outland Trophy’s only double winner as the nation’s finest college interior lineman.
“I was very honored to receive that award,” said Lund.
Lund isn’t expecting to be chosen in the NFL draft. But he wants to pursue pro football if given the opportunity.
“I don’t know if I will be drafted, but I am interested in signing as a NFL free agent,” said Lund. “I will be attend a NFL pro day tryout session in March.
“Getting a chance to play in the NFL is a once in a lifetime opportunity..”
Lund put his blocking skills to good use this past season and was a reason why NDSU led the nation in time of possession (34 minutes, 39 seconds) and was fifth in third-down conversions (51.52 percent) and sixth in tackles for loss (3.79 average. The Bison led the confernce in scoring (31.4) and rushing offense (178).
Lund worked hard while climbing the ladder of success at NDSU. He was red-shirted as a freshman and then served as a back-up center and guard during his first season of college eligibility.
As a sophomore, he started nine games at center and saw action at offensive guard. During his junior year, he started 13 games at center and one game at guard. Lund started at center in all 15 games of his senior year.
“Center is definitely my favorite position,” said Lund. “I like to be in the thick of the action.”
Lund was the center of attraction as a member of the Kennedy football team as well. He started three seasons at that position.
Fond Kennedy memories
“I had a great high school experience at Kennedy,” said Lund. “Dave Frisell was our head football coach and we had a lot of good athletes such as Evan Aber, Hakeem Bourne-McFarlane, Mike Houts and Ross Schulz.”
Lund enrolled at NDSU after high school and the rest is history.
Off the field, Lund has majored in law enforcement and is presently an intern at West Central Juvenile Center in Moorhead. Lund and his wife Whitney have been married for one and a half years.
“I will give pro football a try but if that doesn’t work out I will pursue a career in law enforcement,” said Lund. “And maybe I could coach football as well.”
There is no reason why Lund couldn’t succeed in both law enforcement and football coaching because he thrives on being in the center of action.
Contact Greg Kleven at [email protected]