When the University of Mary played Minot State, quarterback Craig Bagnell was in a wheelchair with a sever back injury. Last week, he passed Chris Schwab to become the Marauders record holder for career pass completions.
It all started in a small town in Northwest Montana.
"I moved to Montana when I was young. I was born in Omaha, Nebraska, then moved out to Montana on the reservation," says Bagnell.
Craig Bagnell has been taking snaps under center for nearly a decade. Having the opportunity to play at the varsity level in high school at a young age. Craig knew early on that football was the route he wanted to take.
"I loved it. I loved the competitive side of it, and the physical side of it. I knew that is what I wanted to do in college," says Bagnell.
Being a top quarterback recruit out of Montana, coming to Bismarck wasn't originally in the picture.
"I thought I was going to walk on at Montana State, a Division 1-AA school but Coach McMahon who is now working here was our defensive coordinator. He was the Montana recruiter. He gave me the call and wanted me to come out on a visit. I was like, 'Dad, I don't know if I really want to go to North Dakota.' But, I came out on the visit, and I liked it."
For many college football players their early years are spent on the bench learning the system and getting stronger. Bagnell was forced to make an impact on the program early. Now in his fourth season under center, he is one of the best quarterbacks U-Mary has ever had.
"He is an unbelievable football mind. He is a sponge, he has learned a lot on his own, and from people under him also. Anything I've learned about football in the 25 years of coaching he knows. He probably knows more," says head coach Myron Schulz.
Football is a game of bumps and burses. Last season on homecoming against Winona State, Craig sustained a hit that nearly changed his life.
"When it first happened, I didn't really know what happened. I just thought I got the wind knocked out of me. I thought it was a normal hit, nothing big about it, once I catch my breath I'd be fine. I sat out a play or two came back in. And halfway through the fourth quarter, I started realizing there was something kind of wrong. They took me to the hospital after the game, and they finally told me what happened. And it hits you at once, because things were going so well in the beginning of they year," says Bagnell.
Today, Bagnell is healthy and throwing the ball well. Being in his senior season he is enjoying each moment as it comes.
"On the field, he is intense and focused all of the time, but he is one of those guys. He is relaxed at home, goofs around a lot, and is fun to be around," says John Oyloe.
For any senior like Craig eventually the drills, practice and perpetration and taking the field suited up in pads will come to an end. For now there is plenty of season left with a lot to prove.
Bagnell and the Marauders will play in the very first live sporting event on Me-TV. It'll be shown statewide at 2:30 CT on Saturday afternoon. Me-TV is 5.2 over-the-air or check our website for the Me-TV channel on your local cable provider.