NDSU looks to Leigh’s passing attackFARGO — North Dakota State defensive backs coach Chris Klieman has already coached a team against Lehigh University in a dome. And it didn’t turn out very well.
By: Jeff Kolpack, The Dickinson Press
FARGO — North Dakota State defensive backs coach Chris Klieman has already coached a team against Lehigh University in a dome. And it didn’t turn out very well.
He was on the staff of Northern Iowa when the Mountain Hawks defeated the Panthers 14-7 in last year’s Division I Football Championship Subdivision first round at the UNI-Dome. On Saturday, Klieman will get another chance to game plan against one of the top quarterbacks in the country.
Lehigh’s Chris Lum has thrown for more than 4,000 yards.
“I remember playing them last year and thinking, ‘I hope we don’t have to face that quarterback again,’ ” Klieman said.
NDSU and Lehigh kick off at 3:05 p.m. in the quarterfinals at the Fargodome.
In essence, NDSU has gotten a second opinion from Klieman on how to play other teams all season. He spent nine years at UNI, which included several FCS playoff games.
“It’s nice that coach Klieman was able to play against those guys and have a little feel for them already,” said Bison linebacker Preston Evans. “We’ll put our trust in our coaches and we’ll be fine.”
Klieman said he compares Lum to former New Hampshire quarterback Ricky Santos, who was a winner of the Walter Payton Award, which goes to FCS’ best player. New Hampshire, by the way, stuck the only loss on Lehigh this year, winning 48-41 in overtime.
“I’m very familiar with New Hampshire,” Klieman said. “New Hampshire is a dynamite football team in the Colonial Athletic Association. And then to take the winner of that league (Towson State) and beat them at their place … this is a legitimate football team. They’ve earned the respect of a lot of people.”
Klieman said about the only difference with the Mountain Hawks this year from last year is the running game. A season-ending injury in mid-November to starting running back Zach Barket may have the Hawks relying more on the pass in December.
“I think if I’m they’re coach, I say let’s put the game into our best players’ hands and that’s what they’re doing,” Klieman said. “They’re putting it in Lum’s hands and he wants it in his hands, especially at critical times.”
Last year, those critical times led to a first-round loss for UNI.
“We walked off the field and said that’s a pretty good football team,” Klieman said.
Kolpack is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead,
which is owned by
Forum Communications Co.