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 last time these teams met, quarterback Carson Wentz ran five yards for a game-winning touchdown and linebacker Esley Thorton had a game-clinching interception. That was the 2014 national championship between North Dakota State and Illinois State that will go down as one of the all-time great FCS title games ever. The rematch scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1, has a different feel to it, however. The Missouri Valley Football Conference is just one game old but already there are signs that the league has set the table for a shakeup.
FARGO—North Dakota State lost its best defensive player for the rest of the season. Head coach Chris Klieman announced Monday, Sept. 19, middle linebacker Nick DeLuca will have season-ending surgery to address a shoulder injury. DeLuca will apply for a medical hardship and Klieman said the hope is he'll return next season. The senior, who played as a true freshman, has a torn labrum suffered in the season opener against Charleston Southern, but still played with it the last two games.
IOWA CITY, Iowa—The career path of North Dakota State running back King Frazier started with a wal-on shot at the University of Nebraska, where the hope was to be among the top running backs in the large stadiums of the Big Ten Conference. There were several detours to that dream, but he finally got his wish on Saturday, Sept. 17. He was the best running back in front of 70,585 fans at Kinnick Stadium.
IOWA City, Iowa—Kinnick Stadium is aptly crowned a historic structure, with the bricks on its exterior dating back to the days when football players played in leather helmets. Certainly, when it comes to wins or losses with the home-standing Iowa Hawkeyes, there have been some big ones over the years. This one was a whopper.
IOWA City, Iowa—For North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman, the decision to go for a two-point conversion with under four minutes to play in the fourth quarter Saturday, Sept. 17, wasn't difficult. "We came here to win," Klieman said. "Period." Trailing by a point, the Bison didn't convert but later rallied for a 23-21 college football victory against the No. 11-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes after kicker Cam Pedersen hit a 37-yard field goal on the game's final play at Kinnick Stadium before 70,585 fans.
FARGO—In this corner, and in his home ring of Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, is Mr. Old School Basic Football. In the other corner, and the visitor from the great state of North Dakota, is Mr. Old School Basic Football Jr.
FARGO -- It was a two-game suspension, but it probably felt like two years to North Dakota State offensive lineman Austin Kuhnert. He stood in front of the cameras this...
FARGO—Upon further review, take a deep breath. Or take a nap. You, the Bison football fan, probably need some mode of decompression following a college football game that turned into another marathon. Four hours and six minutes, nine official reviews, one overtime and two offensively explosive teams that combined for over 1,000 total yards later, North Dakota State looked almost too tired to celebrate a stirring 50-44 win over Eastern Washington Saturday afternoon, which turned into early Saturday evening.
FARGO—There was a time when the formula for scheduling football games for North Dakota State comprised mainly of paying a couple of marginal Division I FCS opponents a guarantee to come to Fargo and finding an FBS opponent to pay NDSU a guarantee. The poster child with that philosophy peaked in 2011. That's when the Bison hosted Lafayette and and St. Francis, two programs in the state of Pennsylvania that will probably not contend for top 10 FCS status anytime soon. The Bison followed those two victories by a combined 98-9 with a 37-24 win at the University of Minnesota.
FARGO—Even if his shoulder is still not 100 percent, and even though Saturday's opponent is a non-conference game, there is no playing it safe for North Dakota State linebacker Nick DeLuca. It's his senior year, after all. Hanging out on the sidelines acting like a student assistant coach is not what he has in mind against Eastern Washington—the No. 8-ranked team the top-ranked Bison will play Saturday, Sept. 10, at Gate City Bank Field in the Fargodome.