Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. 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.
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FARGO—There's more than figuring out a weather forecast to John Wheeler, the WDAY chief meteorologist. He's also an instructor at North Dakota State and at least one student couldn't be more thankful. If football doesn't work out for Bison defensive tackle Nate Tanguay, he may have found his calling in life.
FARGO—It took until the seventh year of Division I football, with the first four being a transition period, before North Dakota State discovered what the FCS playoffs are all about. Seven years after that, the entire NDSU operation seems to have the process perfected. There are now essentially two seasons of Bison football: the regular season and the postseason. The second season begins Saturday, Dec. 2, when NDSU hosts the University of San Diego in a second round playoff game at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
FARGO—The Pioneer Football League is a group of 11 schools that extends from one coast to another. The common denominator for 10 of the 11 is they are private and all 11 share one trait when it comes to financing football: They are non-scholarship. That doesn't mean, especially in the case of the University of San Diego, they are a non-factor in Division I FCS football.
FARGO—The week started with a rarity in the Chris Klieman era of the North Dakota State football program: The head coach announced three players were dismissed from the team for a violation of team rules. What those violations are remain unknown, but the Bison players this week say they've already moved on and all eyes are on the Division I FCS playoffs. No. 2-seeded NDSU hosts the University of San Diego in a second-round game Saturday, Dec. 2, at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
FARGO — The streak has gone on so long that it started against an opponent that no longer has a football team. When North Dakota State defeated Northeastern University (Mass.) in 2006, it started a bye-week success rate that would be hard to match in any level of football. The Bison have won 26 straight games when not playing the previous week, whether it be a regular-season open date, a first-round bye in the FCS playoffs or the postseason gap between the semifinals and championship game in Frisco, Texas.
FARGO—The two most dangerous North Dakota State players with the basketball went the first three games with more blanks than live bullets. On Wednesday night, Nov. 22, Paul Miller and Tyson Ward fine-tuned their weapons and gunned down Florida A&M. The two guards used their length and athleticism at all spots on the Scheels Center court. Ward had 17 points and Miller 16 and the Bison defeated the Rattlers 80-66 at the Sanford Health Athletic Center for their second straight win.
FARGO—North Dakota State head coach Dave Richman said he is in no hurry to make a decision on the early-season Paul-Miller-to-point-guard experiment. The Bison senior, in his first year at the position, will start at point guard Wednesday night when the Bison host Florida A&M. But, at the least, freshman Cameron Hunter is giving the Bison coaching staff something to think about.
FARGO—North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman has been around football for a lot of years and seen a lot of weather conditions that weren't favorable. Last Saturday, Nov. 18, set a new low. The Bison defeated Illinois State 20-7 in a game that started in drizzle, turned to a horizontal rain with strong winds, morphed into sleet that turned to snow and finished in cold, wind-chill temperatures. "As tough of conditions as I've ever played in or coached in," Klieman said. "I don't think TV did it justice as to how bad it was. It was survival in the first half."
FARGO—If North Dakota State is to return to Frisco, Texas, the Bison will get their chance to do it at home. The Division I Football Championship Committee awarded NDSU the No. 2 seed on Sunday morning, Nov. 19, and the Bison will receive a first-round bye for the playoffs. NDSU will get the winner of the University of San Diego and Northern Arizona on Saturday, Dec. 2. San Diego won the Pioneer League and NAU is an at-large entrant from the Big Sky Conference.
NORMAL, Ill.—The best catch all rainy, snowy, sleety, windy afternoon was not by a receiver at Hancock Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 18. It was by a North Dakota State freshman outside linebacker who in a matter of weeks is turning into one of those difference makers. Senior Nick DeLuca is the big steady, mature presence at middle linebacker. A few steps to either side of him is Jabril Cox, who made the play against Illinois State that turned into the eventual game-winner.