(STATS) - Key injuries hurt North Dakota State's vaunted defense last season, but this year, the Bison have suffered a devastating injury even before the season begins.
All-America defensive end Greg Menard suffered a season-ending knee injury over the weekend, coach Chris Klieman announced Monday.
Menard, who was named to the STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award Watch List last week, plans to take a medical redshirt and return for his final season of eligibility in 2018.
The 6-foot-2, 239-pound Menard has 125 tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss and 28 sacks in 43 career games. He has made 29 consecutive starts at right defensive end.
While North Dakota State will be hard-pressed to replace Menard's production, the Bison remain one of the top FCS national title contenders. Their record streak of five straight titles ended in the semifinal round last season.
Stanley Jones, a redshirt junior, was listed as Menard's backup on NDSU's initial depth chart for the 2017 season.