Welcome return: Bison didn’t know what they had in Drevlow until he wasn’t thereFARGO — North Dakota State will get its starting nose guard back today for its Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff game against James Madison University (Va.). Perhaps the importance of having Ryan Drevlow in the lineup was more noticeable when he wasn’t there.
By: Jeff Kolpack, The Dickinson Press
FARGO — North Dakota State will get its starting nose guard back today for its Division I Football Championship Subdivision playoff game against James Madison University (Va.). Perhaps the importance of having Ryan Drevlow in the lineup was more noticeable when he wasn’t there.
The sophomore from Gwinner hurt his knee at Indiana State, a sprain to the MCL in his knee that caused him to miss the last two games of the regular season. One of those was a loss at home to Youngstown State.
“It hurt to sit out, watch my teammates play from the sidelines and not be able to do anything about it,” Drevlow said. “It bothered me.”
His absence also meant sophomore Justin Juckem had to play about 60 plays in the last two games. NDSU head coach Craig Bohl said Juckem has been battling knee inflammation and 60 is too many for him.
“Drevlow is a great player and having him back is huge for us,” said Bison linebacker Chad Willson. “It gives us more depth in the d-line. Just to supplement him back in the rotation is big for us.”
Drevlow, Juckem and sophomore Leevon Perry have intertwined between the noseguard and defensive tackle spots.
“We have a three-man rotation and anytime big guys like us get up in the 50-rep range, it’s too many,” Drevlow said. “We usually like to take around 40 to 45, which would be perfect.”
Drevlow’s presence in the interior will be important considering JMU’s penchant to run the ball. The Dukes carried a time of possession advantage in nine of their 11 FCS games and were 8-1 in those games with the average difference being 7:18.
Never was it more evident than last week in the first round win over Eastern Kentucky. The Dukes had a mammoth 21-minute advantage in time of possession.
Those are the kind of statistics that have NDSU concerned this week. Drevlow was nearly at full speed the day NDSU left for Western Illinois two weeks ago. His first all-out full practice was Tuesday.
“He’s athletic and plays off blocks well,” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl. “He’s a smart, intuitive player.”
Kolpack is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.