Jeff Kolpack / Forum News Service
FARGO—It's one of those streaks that's good for the sake of conversation while sitting around the tailgating grill on a nice Saturday afternoon in the Fargodome parking lot. You used to see the city prominently displayed on the Bison "Thunderstruck" entrance video, but that has morphed into other graphical elements.
FARGO — It was a magical season on the field in 2013 when perhaps the greatest team in NCAA Division I FCS history completed a 15-0 season with a national title win over outmanned Towson University (Md.). North Dakota State finished unbeaten, untied and undisputed as the kings of FCS.
FARGO—The physical growth Blake Williams has undergone since coming to North Dakota State is obvious. He's a big guy, 6-foot-3 and 295 pounds, who plays on the interior defensive line where you need to be big. But that doesn't get you on the field at the Division I FCS level, especially for a program that is used to making a deep run in the playoffs. And considering the Bison are rotating at least five players at two spots, there's no room for falling behind in the football classroom. That's where Williams has made his biggest strides.
FARGO—North Dakota State linebacker Nick DeLuca underwent a medical procedure to his knee on Monday, Sept. 11, said Bison head coach Chris Klieman. That's about all that is known of the senior who missed last Saturday's game at Eastern Washington. Klieman said he was not going to elaborate on the condition of DeLuca until he fully knows all the details. DeLuca was injured during practice last week.
FARGO—Before trying to solve North Dakota State on Saturday, Sept. 9, Eastern Washington's football team is trying to figure out how to practice. Smoke from wildfires in the Pacific Northwest has forced the Eagles indoors so far this week. They worked out in their fieldhouse on Tuesday and as of late Wednesday morning, head coach Aaron Best still wasn't sure what his team was going to do. The air quality on Wednesday was termed "hazardous" for the third straight day, according to The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane.
FARGO—The first Mississippi Valley State player mentioned in a preseason newspaper story about the team last week was quarterback Austin Bray, who played in all 11 games a year ago and threw for over 1,400 yards. But this week, he wasn't on the roster. That has left the battle for the starting quarterback job in the season opener against North Dakota State Saturday, Sept. 2, between four players, said offensive coordinator Ray Caldwell. It appears Jett Even, a transfer from Pasadena City College (Calif.), will get the opening-series nod.
FARGO—Greg Menard carries a 3.8 grade point average in civil engineering and has been honored with virtually every academic award there is out there. Now a senior, it's a sure bet companies will be getting in line to hire him. But Menard is not ready to give up his athletic career just yet. The standout defensive end suffered a torn ACL in his knee in practice earlier this month and his surgery Friday, Aug. 25, was termed successful, he said.
FARGO—There was a time when Mississippi Valley State was the toast of the college football world, with quarterback Willie Totten and receiver Jerry Rice putting the school on the map. The tandem set several NCAA records with Rice going on to a NFL Hall of Fame career. That was in the early 1980s.
FARGO—Mississippi Valley State, North Dakota State's season-opening football opponent on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 2, has struggled mightily in recent years coming off back-to-back 1-10 seasons. The Delta Devils are ranked 252nd out of 254 teams in a USA Today Division I football power ratings system this week and dismissed about 15 players from last season. So, in his first weekly press conference on Monday, Aug. 28, Bison head coach Chris Klieman predictably spent most of the time talking about his team. And the one word that kept coming up? Depth.
FARGO—Walking became a chore for North Dakota State tight end Jeff Illies in the days after he suffered a knee injury in practice. Even more hazardous to his health was the thought of his senior season blowing up before it started. Hopes of saving his best year for last turned to visions of worst-case scenarios. "When it's hard to walk, it just seems like it's going to be a long time before you actually run," Illies said.