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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IOWA City, Iowa—For North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman, the decision to go for a two-point conversion with under four minutes to play in the fourth quarter Saturday, Sept. 17, wasn't difficult. "We came here to win," Klieman said. "Period." Trailing by a point, the Bison didn't convert but later rallied for a 23-21 college football victory against the No. 11-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes after kicker Cam Pedersen hit a 37-yard field goal on the game's final play at Kinnick Stadium before 70,585 fans.
FARGO—It was in the summer of 2015 when Big Ten Conference commissioner Jim Delany laid down the scheduling law that left every Division I FCS school within reasonable driving distance of a Big Ten school in a bad mood. Don't even think about coming to one of our houses, the mandate read.
FARGO — In this corner, and in his home ring of Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, is Mr. Old School Basic Football. In the other corner, and the visitor from the great state of North Dakota, is Mr. Old School Basic Football Jr.
FARGO — It was the 1982 Rose Bowl and the Iowa Hawkeyes went to Pasadena, Calif., led by quarterback Chuck Long, with a team that changed the fortunes of Hawkeyes football to this day. It was the program's first winning season since 1961 and the bandwagon was immediately in full force. That included a young kid from Waterloo, Iowa, who followed every minute of the bowl game loss to the University of Washington. Matt Entz was a hurting kid.
FARGO — Two major questions remained for North Dakota State on Monday after the overtime win over Eastern Washington on Saturday: How banged up are the Bison? And what exactly is an illegal block below the waist? Bison head coach Chris Klieman had the answer for neither. NDSU had 13 penalties for 137 yards against the Eagles with three of those being the illegal block, a personal foul that costs a team 15 yards. NDSU had one illegal block that was declined by Eastern and also had four holding penalties.
FARGO—Upon further review, take a deep breath. Or take a nap. You, the Bison football fan, probably need some mode of decompression following a college football game that turned into another marathon. Four hours and six minutes, nine official reviews, one overtime and two offensively explosive teams that combined for over 1,000 total yards later, North Dakota State looked almost too tired to celebrate a stirring 50-44 win over Eastern Washington Saturday afternoon, which turned into early Saturday evening.
FARGO—There was a time when the formula for scheduling football games for North Dakota State comprised mainly of paying a couple of marginal Division I FCS opponents a guarantee to come to Fargo and finding an FBS opponent to pay NDSU a guarantee. The poster child with that philosophy peaked in 2011. That's when the Bison hosted Lafayette and and St. Francis, two programs in the state of Pennsylvania that will probably not contend for top 10 FCS status anytime soon. The Bison followed those two victories by a combined 98-9 with a 37-24 win at the University of Minnesota.
FARGO—The homepage of the Warner School District website shows a picture of a school landmark, with the date 1918 engraved into it. That presumably was the year it opened. That's a lot of years for a lot of athletes, but perhaps nobody was as athletic and powerful as the Tuszka brothers. When they played football, they were men among boys in that section of northern South Dakota. "You might find guys that big, but not nearly as mobile and agile," said Tom Kulesa, the former high school coach at Warner. "You just knew they were crazy athletic, both of them."
FARGO—Even if his shoulder is still not 100 percent, and even though Saturday's opponent is a non-conference game, there is no playing it safe for North Dakota State linebacker Nick DeLuca. It's his senior year, after all. Hanging out on the sidelines acting like a student assistant coach is not what he has in mind against Eastern Washington—the No. 8-ranked team the top-ranked Bison will play Saturday, Sept. 10, at Gate City Bank Field in the Fargodome.
FARGO—The most prolific offensive player in Division I FCS football comes to Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome this Saturday, Sept. 10, in Eastern Washington wide receiver Cooper Kupp. So far, three teams in the Missouri Valley Football Conference have tried to stop him. All three failed.