COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Return of rivalry doesn't seem to excite NDSU
The 120-year-old football series with its in-state rival is back, but it doesn’t seem to particularly excite North Dakota State.
Avoiding the word “rivalry” and without any mention of the history of the series, NDSU officials instead framed the agreement to play two future games against UND as games to fill the schedule during a Friday afternoon press conference.
“We didn’t feel any pressure to schedule this game,” said Jeremy Jorgenson, NDSU’s director of broadcasting. “It helps us fill 2015. It helps us get a start on 2019. That’s the way we’re looking at it. It’s a good business decision for the athletic department. I wouldn’t look into it further than that.
“There weren’t a lot of options out there for us for 2015. This helps us fill 2015. Scheduling out is a two-year out, minimum, process. This process needed finality.”
Both contests — Sept. 19, 2015, and Sept. 7, 2019 — will be played in the Fargodome, ending a 12-year hiatus of the rivalry. Jorgenson said that potential games in Grand Forks are “off the table.”
NDSU coach Chris Klieman said: “It’s a great game for the state of North Dakota and a great game for our fans, especially because they get another home game next year. We’re eight days away from Iowa State and that’s where our focus is right now. But it’s a great game for the state.”
NDSU interim athletic director Prakash Mathew said former athletic director Gene Taylor did most of the legwork.
“At this point, we needed some finality so we could move forward and put this to rest,” Mathew said. “That is one reason we scheduled the game. So we can move forward.”
After years of deadlock between athletic directors in trying to get the game scheduled, Jorgenson was asked what finally made it happen.
“The two games in Fargo was a big deal,” Jorgenson said. “Too many home-and-homes really pile up the road commitments in later years. It was mandatory to have two games in Fargo as part of this contract.”
Jorgenson said there was urgency to get it done before the season started.
“We didn’t want it to be a distraction,” he said. “We wanted finality this week — 2015 was becoming a serious situation. Scheduling is filling up faster and faster now.”