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—It was one of his first days on campus when Matt Plank saw the North Dakota State defensive playbook. He likened it to the thickness of a college textbook. To a true freshman, it probably looked more like "War and Peace." "Coach (Steve) Stanard, who was the original linebackers coach, slapped down a 200-page playbook and I'm like, 'Is this history class?'" Plank said. "What's going on? But it's gotten easier over the years."
FARGO—It's one of those rarely-enforced rules that occasionally crop up in a college football game, and North Dakota State was on the wrong end of such a call Saturday night, Aug. 27, against Charleston Southern. It was met with some resistance by some Bison fans at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome and on social media. Sideline interference, what is it?
FARGO—The waiting game has started with Nick DeLuca's shoulder. Will two weeks be enough healing time for the North Dakota State middle linebacker to play against Eastern Washington? The senior captain dislocated his shoulder on the first play of the second half Saturday night, Aug. 27, against Charleston Southern. Bison head coach Chris Klieman said the medical staff was able to pop it right back in and DeLuca spent the rest of the game with his arm in a sling and an ice wrap around his shoulder.
FARGO—At one time, you would have thought the lasting image of ESPN and North Dakota State football would have been the aerial shot during the first segment of the "College GameDay" football pregame show. After all, it's hard to beat thousands of fans seens in Fargo's downtown streets and on rooftops. The show—this ESPN and Bison football thing—continues to thrive.
FARGO—Forgive Tanner Volson if he gets up around 5 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, and heads to the North Dakota State weight room. Don't bat an eye if he leaves the Sanford Health Athletic Complex and heads to work at a local landscape company.
FARGO—The method of scheduling football games for Charleston Southern University over the years includes keeping an eye on FBS powers Clemson and the University of South Carolina. It's not so much who those two are playing, but when. The Buccaneers do everything they can to keep from going head-to-head with the Tigers and Gamecocks. "We want people to go to both," said CSU athletic director Hank Small. "We've only been playing football since 1990. We're the new guy so we're building in everything we do."
FARGO—The list of North Dakota cities and towns that have contributed players to the North Dakota State football program in the Division I era consists of the usual suspects: Dickinson, Fargo, Bismarck, Cavalier, Velva, West Fargo and Wahpeton. This season, you can add Kindred to the list.
FARGO—North Dakota State and Charleston Southern will play a football game on United States soil a week before all other NCAA college football teams—a bonus for exposure but also a potential problem with the length of the season. It will be the second straight year the Bison will appear on the ESPN FCS Kickoff game and a chance for redemption of sorts after the loss at Montana to start last season. Upon further review, NDSU head coach Chris Klieman said his team wasn't as fresh as it needed to be, so he changed the way the Bison practiced this month.
FARGO—North Dakota State will face its share of potent quarterback and receiver combinations this season, a virtual dose of potential double trouble. Next Saturday, Aug. 27, however, Charleston Southern will unveil its triple option offense at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. For NDSU, it's Georgia Southern all over again.
FARGO—If you're still contemplating making a road trip to Iowa City, Iowa, on the weekend of Sept. 17, getting into the North Dakota State at Iowa football game is still within reach. Over 2,000 single-game tickets remain, according to the Hawkeye ticket office. Don't take that as a sign the excitement level is down at Iowa at 70,585-seat Kinnick Stadium. Coming off a 12-0 regular season and a trip to the Rose Bowl, season tickets are up and the home schedule has some tasty options.