Bison ranked No. 1 in both polls, have lost at least 1 starter for season with injury
FARGO -- North Dakota State moved up in the rankings to No. 1 in The Sports Network Division I Football Championship Subdivision top 25 poll on Monday. The Bison now hold the top spot in the two major FCS polls.
There is no opponent this week to try and take them down because it is an open date. That's fine for a team whose best athlete, Marcus Williams, will be out two weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to his knee, said head coach Craig Bohl.
No further details on Williams' injury were divulged, but he did play the entire game Saturday in a 22-7 win at Colorado State.
While Williams will return, one starter will not.
Safety Colten Heagle saw his season end with a knee injury and backup running back, Derrick Lang, will be out an unspecified time with an injury to his chest area.
Also, tight end Garrett Bruhn is expected to miss 2-4 weeks with a knee injury.
Heagle is out for the season with a torn ACL in his knee, an MRI confirmed on Monday. Heagle suffered the injury in the second half at Colorado State. His departure means senior Bobby Ollman will start in his spot and puts an even greater stress on the depth at linebacker.
Ollman was also working as a backup linebacker.
"A lot of times coaches will have a list and say the next guy will step up and move on," said head coach Craig Bohl. "That's not accurate, losing what I think is a great defensive player."
Bohl said Heagle will probably be able to apply for a medical hardship and not lose this year of eligibility. He played as a true freshman in 2010.
A player must play in three or less games the first half of the season to be eligible for a medical hardship. NDSU will submit the paperwork to the Missouri Valley Football Conference office at the conclusion of the season.
The news appeared to be more promising for Bruhn, who was feared to be lost for the season after the CSU game. Bohl said Bruhn had minimal swelling on Sunday.
Lang left the CSU game in the second half after taking a shot to his chest, Bohl said. He was sent to a Fort Collins hospital for precautionary reasons and his playing status is uncertain, Bohl said.
"I don't think it's anything that is a long-term serious affect," he said. "I think it's maybe some deep bruises or something along those lines."
The Bison passed Sam Houston State in the TSN media poll after it beat Football Bowl Subdivision Colorado State 22-7 on Saturday. Sam Houston beat Division II Incarnate Word 54-7. Montana State moved up to No. 3 in both polls.
The Missouri Valley is off to an early poll start in conference strength. In the TSN poll, Youngstown State is No. 5, Northern Iowa No. 7, Illinois State No. 15 and Indiana State No. 22.
Youngstown and Illinois State also own FBS wins, defeating Pittsburgh and Eastern Michigan, respectively, while UNI and Indiana State had close losses against Big Ten teams Wisconsin and Indiana.
"I don't know what the other leagues are saying but I can tell you our league is really tough," Bohl said.