Cox, Gonnella Emerging as Stars for NDSU Football

Both shined in Win over Youngstown State to open up Youngstown State

FARGO, N.D — Before the spring season started North Dakota State football coach Matt Entz said different stars on the team will emerge each week because everyone on the roster is going to see action. This week, it was linebacker Jasir Cox and running back Dominic Gonnella.

On Sunday, Cox had just his second start and is third on the team in tackles. In the fall against Central Arkansas, the junior recorded a sack along with seven tackles. Against the Penguins, he added five more along with a pass break-up that was a near interception.

After Seth Wilson went down with a season-ending knee injury, Gonnella came in as a true freshman and had the second most carries and third most yards among the group.

“My confidence has really picked up with coach Olson always helping me with my rights and wrongs,” Cox said. “He helps me play fast and lead on my athletic ability because that helps me in game when I start to struggle.”

“You just see his confidence building and building,” Entz said. “Its year three and that’s when we anticipate the light bulbs coming on and the ability along with the mental and physical side start to match.”

“You just get in a mode where you’re just playing football,” Gonnella said. “You do what you do. You’ve done it all week. Going through your reps, go through your reads. Take your time and when you get the ball run hard.”

“He’s steady. He’s very good. I think we’ve only scratched the surface of where he can be,” Entz said. “The more reps he gets, the more comfortable he’ll become in our game plan.”

The Bison play the next two games on the road against Southern Illinois and Missouri State.

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