NDSU's Ollman moving into bigger role
FARGO -- North Dakota State may have lost one of its top defensive cowboys in Colten Heagle, but Saturday won't be Bobby Ollman's first rodeo in replacing the Bison strong safety.
Ollman did it last year on three occasions when Heagle was injured and he'll be counted on to do it the rest of this season after Heagle went down with a season-ending torn ACL against Colorado State two weeks ago.
"I'm the next guy up and I'm ready," Ollman said.
His first test comes today against Prairie View A&M (Texas). Now a senior, Ollman played as a true freshman and has seen the field in a few roles over the years.
With Heagle healthy, he was a backup linebacker the first two games of the season because the Bison lacked depth at that position. He'll no longer be moonlighting.
"I'm going to have to let linebacker go," Ollman said. "It had a lot of the same things as strong safety. I actually had to change my speed of the game because you're closer to the ball. Now there is no slowing down."
Heagle had one of the biggest defensive plays last season when he returned an interception 82 yards for a touchdown against Illinois State. It was a key play of the game.
"Bobby is capable of doing all the things that Colten could do," said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl. "Colten could just go faster and cover more ground."
New dome turf replaced, but it looks the same
For the second time this season, NDSU will christen a new artificial turf playing surface on Gate City Bank Field. But in this case, it will be virtually impossible to tell the difference.
The previous GameDay 3D turf, which was in for about a month before a glitch in the underlayment was discovered, was removed and replaced with the same product in just over a week. The timing worked fine for the football team, which played at Colorado State two weeks ago and had a bye last week.
"Everything went as planned and it's working like it's supposed to," said Fargodome general manager Rob Sobolik. "It's a whole new surface but it looks the same as the other one. It's the same product and the same installation process."
Sobolik some technical aspects like the hydraulics in the storage pit were adjusted.
AstroTurf picked up the entire cost of the replacement, which was estimated to be several hundred thousand dollars. The original contract between the dome and the company was $2.6 million.
It was NDSU or SHSU for Prairie View game
When it came to scheduling its last nonconference game for this season, Prairie View A&M had two options familiar to Football Championship Subdivision fans: NDSU or Sam Houston State - two teams that played for the FCS title last January.
Sam Houston is just a 70-mile bus ride from Prairie View, but the Panthers took the Bison game for another reason: money.
"Financially, the payout was better going up to North Dakota State," said Prairie View head coach Heishma Northern. "And it gives our guys a chance to go somewhere else."
Prairie View is getting $200,000 cash plus 35 hotel rooms, according to NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor. NDSU typically has been paying teams a charter flight, usually around $100,000, plus a guarantee of up to $50,000.
Northern said his team had a chance to play a few Football Bowl Subdivision schools, but opted to look for a quality FCS team. Northern said Prairie View is playing Stephen F. Austin and FBS Texas State next season.
"I told my athletic director, you cannot run from the competition," he said. "We're going to keep that philosophy up."
Bison offense also impressive in 2-0 start
The NDSU defense has been getting the rave reviews so far in the 2-0 season, and for good reason: The Bison lead FCS in total defense giving up 165.5 yards per game and scoring defense at 3.5 points per game.
But how impressive was the Bison offense in the 22-7 win over Colorado State? The 81 plays NDSU ran were the most since 83 against Northern Iowa in 2009.
And the 39 minutes, 52 seconds in time of possession was its most since holding the ball for 40:17 in a 51-14 win over California Poly in 2006.
Etc. etc. etc.
Prairie View is the third opponent for NDSU from the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The Bison beat Grambling 20-7 in the 1965 Pecan Bowl and Mississippi Valley twice: 58-7 in 2007 and 45-0 in 2006. ... NDSU is expecting its 12th sellout over the past seven seasons and has attracted over 18,000 fans in eight of its last nine games in the 18,700-seat Fargodome. ... The Bison have won seven straight games dating back to last season and have allowed just 20 points in the last five games. They have limited opponents to 10 points or less in seven of their last 17 games. ... After film review, Ryan Drevlow was given credit for the field goal block at Colorado State instead of Carlton Littlejohn.