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Bison’s Drevlow working hard on field, in classroom

FNS Photo by David Samson North Dakota State’s Ryan Drevlow, left, and Kyle Emanuel pressure Furman’s Resse Hannon on Dec. 7 at the Fargodome.

FARGO — What not many people saw when Ryan Drevlow left North Dakota State football practice last year was his schedule the rest of the night — and into the morning. It wasn’t unusual for him to head over to an engineering lab on campus.

He would often be there until 3 or 4 in the morning, go home and go to sleep, get up at around noon and do it all over again the next day. It’s how students with a 3.7 grade-point average function when it’s academic go time.

“It’s worth it. It gives you a sense of accomplishment,” Drevlow said. “It really gives you time management skills when you get out in the world.”

The world, actually, has already called. Drevlow has a full-time job lined up as an electrical engineer at Basin Electric in Bismarck when his NDSU obligations are finished. It probably wasn’t a tough decision for Basin when Drevlow handed his application to the company at an NDSU job fair.

He interviewed during spring break last year and was offered a position two weeks later.

Tonight, Drevlow is hoping his college football days won’t be finished. The Bison host New Hampshire in the FCS semifinals at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome, with the winner earning a trip to Frisco, Texas, for the national title game.

It’s the last game at the dome for Drevlow and 23 other seniors.

“We’re just focusing on the game plan, and all we know is we have another 60 minutes,” he said. “We hope the dome is rocking for us.”

Certainly, not many people could have foreseen the rockin’ time Drevlow has had on the defensive line at NDSU. He was a highly regarded player in the southeast corner of the state at Milnor-North Sargent, but not many other places. A three-sport athlete, he not only set school records in the big-guy events like shot put and discus but was part of a record-setting relay team as well.

Back in 2009 when he signed his letter of intent, NDSU had been Division I postseason eligible for only one year. There were still questions if North Dakota players could make it at that level, especially from a rural town like Gwinner.

“You’re from a small town, people say, ‘What business do you have going Division I?’” Drevlow said. “People said you didn’t play against necessarily the greatest competition, but the coaching staff here knows what they’re doing, and I’m glad they found me.”

There was one other small-town Bison recruit on that 2009 signing day: fullback Andrew Grothmann from Hillsboro. This week, he was named an FCS first team All-American by The Sports Network.

On Wednesday, Drevlow was named to the Associated Press All-America second team.

“It can be done,” said NDSU fullback Jedre Cyr, a backup from Glyndon, Minn.

Cyr said he heard the same comments Drevlow did when he walked on to the team two years ago.

“You want to try and prove them wrong. That’s what (Drevlow) did, and I’m going to try and do the same,” Cyr said.

Drevlow’s Bison quest started when he was 5 or 6 years old, he said, when he watched NDSU play the University of North Dakota on television.

“I remember looking at my mom and said I’m going to play football for the Bison,” he said. “And she kind of looked at me and said, ‘Well, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and it doesn’t happen very often.’ But I ended up working hard and ended up having my dream come true.”

Tonight will be his 55th career game. He’s been nominated for a variety of academic awards. He’s been a dependable nose guard with run-stopping ability at 6-foot-4 and 281 pounds. He was at 235 pounds when he enrolled as a true freshman.

NDSU was coming off a 6-5 season when he signed his letter of intent. The Bison were 3-8 during his redshirt freshman season.

He’s part of a senior class that turned the program into an FCS power that has another chance to reach Frisco tonight.

“We just look at each other and say I’m giving my all for you and you’re going to give it your all for me and we’re going to try and get us another 60 minutes,” Drevlow said.

Jeff Kolpack
Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at 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.