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BISON FOOTBALL: Quarterback nursing injury in preparation for road game against Indiana State

FARGO -- The right arm of North Dakota State quarterback Brock Jensen has been as good as anybody in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision. If only his left toe felt as healthy.

FARGO -- The right arm of North Dakota State quarterback Brock Jensen has been as good as anybody in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision. If only his left toe felt as healthy.

The sophomore will have to deal with a "turf toe" injury this week when the Bison prepare for a Missouri Valley Football Conference road game at Indiana State. He aggravated it in the second quarter last week against Northern Iowa, but did not miss a play.

"It was certainly painful when it happened," Jensen said. "The day after it was sore and puffed up quite a bit, but now I'm feeling better."

Jensen did not practice on Monday or Tuesday, but coach Craig Bohl said doctors expect him to play against the Sycamores.

"Yeah, that's a challenge, turf toe," Bohl said.

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Nobody with the NDSU football program will be sad to see the Fargodome's artificial turf be replaced next summer. The current AstroTurf will be upgraded with a cushier system from the same company.

Ironically, Bohl was part of a traveling contingent that looked at replacement models on Monday such as the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

"AstroTurf can be a challenging surface," Bohl said. "There's more opportunity for turf toe on Astroturf. Through the years, it's not been a great surface."

Jensen said there's a big difference between the dome turf and the Sprinturf system on the Dacotah Field practice facility.

"I think the dome turf has more of an effect on it," he said of turf toe injuries in general.

Jensen figures he may get some sort of numbing shot before the Sycamores game and expects to be at full speed. The No. 1-ranked Bison face a 16th-ranked ISU team that, at 5-3, is fighting for its FCS playoff life.

"They're going to be a hungry bunch of guys and they'll be prepared for us," Jensen said.

Still, NDSU is relatively healthy at this stage of the season. Safety Colten Heagle returned to practice on Monday after missing the UNI game with a broken thumb. Defensive end Kyle Emanuel has a strained knee, but is expected to play, Bohl said.

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On the player personnel front, Bohl said sophomore cornerback Bryan Shepherd is challenging Christian Dudzik for a starting job. They are currently splitting time.

"We'll evaluate that over the course of this week," Bohl said.

The biggest evaluation, however, will be the toe of a quarterback who is completing 75.3 percent of his passes with 131 completions in 174 attempts. That is tops in FCS with the next-best, Kevin Decker of New Hampshire, at 70.4 percent.

"I'll be all right," Jensen said.

This article is by The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. The Forum and the Herald are both Forum Communications Co. newspapers.

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