Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.
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FARGO — The business side of the National Football League hit former North Dakota State linebacker Kyle Emanuel this week when his San Diego Chargers announced they were moving the franchise to Los Angeles next season. For the fans, bitterness is sure to remain for years. For the players, the next several months will be a mixture of uncertainty and optimism. At least those are the early thoughts of Emanuel.
FARGO — The measurables like points and rebounds in Dexter Werner's game are simple to look up. You can find them on any statistical sheet. The other stuff; well, if you can bottle it and sell it in 2017, then you'll be a wealthy person. It's mostly effort and the North Dakota State senior was relentless in the second half Saturday afternoon in leading the Bison to an 82-70 men's basketball victory over Nebraska-Omaha. It was the second straight impressive second half performance for NDSU, which improved to 2-0 in the Summit League and 10-5 overall.
FARGO — The NCAA on Wednesday, Dec. 21, approved the medical hardship for North Dakota State linebacker Nick DeLuca, who will get another year of football eligibility and return for his senior season next year. The action was expected since DeLuca had met the general NCAA standards for a hardship. To be eligible for a medical waiver, a player cannot compete in more than 30 percent of the season or three games, whichever is greater. The injury also has to occur in the first half of the season and has to be incapacitating.
FARGO—Not all has been shiny with North Dakota State's new Scheels Center at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex. The athletic department, after a fair number of complaints about leg room in the main arena, is having the seats adjusted to accommodate fans at basketball games and wrestling meets. Specifically, athletic director Matt Larsen said Irwin Seating Company, which manufactured and installed the chairs, will alter the "tilt" of the back of the seats that will create at least two more inches of leg room. "Which I think will go a long way," Larsen said.
FARGO—The non-conference portion of the men's basketball season is usually a time to problem solve and it's no different for North Dakota State. The Bison appear to be working out...
FARGO — There will be no wondering if the renovation of Toyota Stadium and the temporary reduction of seating will affect the thousands of North Dakota State fans that descend to Frisco, Texas, every January. There will be no app showing the masses on their way to the Texas border. And there will be no NDSU flag tied to the Texas state line sign. It had to end sometime, somewhere and somehow. And James Madison University running back Khalid Abdullah put up a stop sign that the rest of the Division I FCS subdivision was probably wondering if it would ever come.
FARGO — North Dakota State junior Grant Morgan started the season as a defensive tackle hoping to further his contributions in the Bison football lineup. He's ending the year as a go-to starter who's being counted on to make a difference. The signature play to date came last weekend when he sliced through the South Dakota State offensive line and tackled running back Brady Mengarelli for a safety. It was a key swing play in the quarterfinal win over the Jackrabbits that gave the Bison a semifinal matchup Friday, Dec. 16, against James Madison University.
FARGO — Physical football. It's a phrase that has been a staple of the North Dakota State football during its run of FCS excellence, almost to the point of it being accepted like the school's nickname. A 20-play drive that took 12 minutes off the clock against South Dakota State? That's physical football. A defense that ranks third in the FCS in fewest points allowed at 15.8 per game? That's physical football. The title of its offense, West Coast, that is based on a "power" running game? Again, physical football.
FARGO—It was just an innocent-looking quick pass from North Dakota State quarterback Easton Stick to receiver Darrius Shepherd late in the game against South Dakota State last Saturday. Shepherd had two SDSU defensive backs to contend with, but he also had receiver Dimitri Williams on the edge to block for him. Williams essentially took out both Jackrabbits and Shepherd rambled 67 yards for a touchdown. It was the final dagger in the 36-10 quarterfinal win at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome, but it was also an example of what Williams brings to the Bison table.
FARGO — When James Madison travels to Fargo to play at North Dakota State this week, the argument can be made it's just another in a line of tough road games for the Dukes. They've been used to the routine all season. James Madison had what head coach Mike Houston said was probably the most challenging road slate in the Colonial Athletic Association this season. The Dukes played at Maine, New Hampshire, Richmond and Villanova in their four league games away from home, with those four having a combined 33-18 overall record and 22-10 in the CAA.