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 — A year ago at this time North Dakota State was 5-2 with some nagging question marks on the future of its FCS football playoff run. As of Monday, the Bison are 6-1 with the toughest schedule in school history. So for the imperfections that have plagued the team so far this season, the ultimate result still has the Bison as the No. 4-ranked team in the FCS top 25 coaches poll and a second place standing in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The key, of course, will be to match last season's late-season improvement.
MACOMB, Ill. — It wasn't a bold statement by any means, but North Dakota State rebounded from its first loss of the season by holding off No. 13-ranked Western Illinois on Saturday night. The 21-13 win at Hanson Field improved the fourth-ranked Bison to 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. They left Macomb in a better state of mind — both before and after the game, players said afterward. For instance, quarterback Easton Stick reminded everybody that the game is supposed to be enjoyable.
FARGO — The party parade from that first Division I FCS national title was still fresh when North Dakota State head coach Craig Bohl stepped to the podium on Feb. 1, 2012, to announce his signing day class. With a title belt in hand, the prevailing thought was great preps were getting in line to sign on the dotted line.
FARGO — Football has given Quinten McCoy the opportunity to see the country, from playing in high school in Texas to junior college in California and now at North Dakota State. Now a senior, there are not many opportunities remaining and the Bison cornerback is trying to make the most of them. For starters, he's seeing more time on the field for the first time in his two-year NDSU career. "Play my role and know my role on this team," McCoy said.
FARGO—It was a solid throw and an even better pass route when receiver Jake Wieneke caught a two-yard touchdown pass. Moments later, South Dakota State was celebrating Saturday, Oct. 15, in the northwest corner of the Gate City Bank Field end zone. Last season, with the score tied at 21-21, the University of South Dakota's Miles Bergner was perfect with a 33-yard field goal and moments later, the Coyotes threw their own victory party in the northwest corner of the Fargodome.
FARGO—The word on North Dakota State freshman Ty Brooks on Sunday through Friday is he's a great practice player, a young freshman always looking to get better. It's a good example to set. "I hope a lot of younger guys see him and see how you're supposed to practice," said head coach Chris Klieman.
FARGO — The college football teams from St. John's and St. Thomas will play next fall at Target Field. The announcement came during a news conference on Monday in Minneapolis. It will be the first time the baseball home of the Minnesota Twins will delve into another sport — talks that also involved North Dakota State. Just because the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference rivals got the game doesn't mean talks with NDSU have ended, said NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen.
FARGO — As expected, North Dakota State lost its status as the No. 1-ranked football team in the FCS national polls. Moreover, the Bison lost one of their top playmakers for an undetermined amount of time. Running back Bruce Anderson, also one of the top kickoff returners in the subdivision, reinjured his ankle on a routine-looking running play up the middle on Saturday against South Dakota State. Replays showed SDSU linebacker Christian Rozeboom holding on to Anderson's foot and then twisting as Anderson was trying to get away.
FARGO — South Dakota State needed to travel 80 yards in 2 minutes, 28 seconds on Saturday. It took the Jackrabbits 2:27. Taryn Christion's 2-yard touchdown pass to Jake Wieneke with 1 second remaining ended six years of Dakota Marker frustration against North Dakota State. The 19-17 victory at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome also ended eight straight losses to NDSU, a streak that included two Division I FCS playoff games. "My fourth time playing them, we lost the rest," Wieneke said. "It's nice to finally beat them."
FARGO—The role call of standout running backs at South Dakota State in the Division I era is pretty steady—a list from A-Z whether it was Anthony Watson or Zach Zenner. It's a philosophy that head coach John Stiegelmeier used to build his program over the years. Ground and pound on the old grass at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.