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—One by one, some of the top heavyweights in the FCS left the building. It was like taking Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield out of boxing and replacing them with a bunch of cruiserweights. There just doesn't seem to be much left to excite the fight fan and the ratings have reflected that. Anthony Joshua has the WBA, IBF and IBO belts, making him the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. How many of you knew that? How many of you even heard of Anthony Joshua?
FARGO—It was four years ago about this time when true freshman A.J. Jacobson was watching six North Dakota State University players give their Senior Day speeches, a final-home-game ritual that at times can get emotional. At some point late Saturday afternoon, Feb.17, it will be Jacobson's turn. This week, he's somewhat in disbelief that five years has gone by so fast. "I thought to myself that will be a long time to get here," he said of the 2014 Senior Day. "And all of a sudden it's here. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but it's been a good ride."
FARGO — The pursuit of medical school won out over playing another season of basketball at North Dakota State for Spencer Eliason. The junior center says this will be his last season of eligibility. Eliason, from Chadron, Neb., will graduate in May with a zoology major and a minor in chemistry. That means the Summit League game against Fort Wayne on Saturday, Feb. 17, will be his last at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
FARGO—For a Division I FCS program like North Dakota State University, which locked up 23 players during the early signing period in December, Wednesday's second round of football commits who make it official will be more like Signing Day Jr. The Bison are expected to sign four players to national letters of intent on Wednesday, Feb. 7.
FARGO—The first half was a dud. The second half was a electric. The result, however, left North Dakota State unplugged on Saturday afternoon, Feb. 3, at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex. The University of South Dakota stuck a 20-point halftime deficit on the Bison in a 20 minutes that was rather forgettable for the home team and the 3,722 fans. There was more life in the second half, but the result—a 76-72 USD win—left the Bison virtually out of the race for a top two seed in the Summit League postseason men's basketball tournament.
FARGO — The guy from the local newspaper sitting at press row over the last couple of decades has usually left the subject of effort by the home team up to the respective head coaches. It's a hard thing to judge. You don't know if a player or wrestler is injured and is already giving the 110 percent, whatever that means anyway. You don't know if a player or wrestler has nothing left in the gas tank because there are no gas gauges on the outside of uniforms.
FARGO—There's no debate to this year's men's basketball MVP in the Summit League. South Dakota State forward Mike Daum has that award so wrapped up that he could take a couple weeks off and still be a unanimous selection. It's reached the point where sports information folks have created another word for the junior from Kimball, Neb.: Daumination. He will be the focus when North Dakota State visits Frost Arena in Brookings, S.D., to try and put a dent into the conference leaders Thursday night, Feb. 1.
FARGO—It was more than three years ago when a young freshman from Hutchinson, Minn., went to Shelly Swandal, his academic advisor, and told her he wanted to attend North Dakota State—all while continuing his professional snowmobile racing career. It's not a combination you hear about every day. But Blaine Stephenson was determined to not let racing interrupt his quest for a agriculture economics major and crop and wheat science minor. Not even a severe accident on the track got in the way.
FARGO—You see glimpses of brilliance from Deng Geu from time to time, whether it's a no-doubt dunk from the 6-foot-8 North Dakota State sophomore or a shutdown defensive play. It was there again on Saturday afternoon, Jan. 27, just when the Bison needed it. Geu didn't play many minutes, 12 to be exact, but they were effective. His presence midway through the second half sparked the Bison to an 80-69 men's basketball victory over Western Illinois. It kept NDSU in third place in the Summit League in front of 3,187 fans at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex.
FARGO—The Summit League is reaching its halfway point of the season this week in both men's and women's basketball. Right now, you can chisel the Rushmore State as the president of the conference. South Dakota became the men's leader Wednesday night, Jan. 24, with an 87-68 home win over South Dakota State while Fort Wayne firmly sits in third place at 3-3. On the women's side, the Coyotes and Jackrabbits are both unbeaten in conference play heading into their showdown on Thursday night, Jan. 25.