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—The University of North Dakota soccer team was coming off a two-win 2016 season and pre-season expectations in the Big Sky Conference this year that were as low as they can get. The Fighting Hawks were 11th out of 11 teams in the pre-season poll. Meanwhile, minutes before taking on North Dakota State at Dacotah Field, the Bison players were awarded their Summit League championship watches after winning the regular season title last season.
FARGO—The five days of North Dakota State University football practice when a decision is normally made on a player playing as a true freshman came and went this week. Nothing happened. And if that remains the case, it will be the second-straight season NDSU will have redshirted its entire freshman class. It's turning into a historical period of sorts in the 13-year history of Division I football at the school. Last year was the first in the FCS era when an entire class was redshirted. And to possibly go back-to-back on the concept?
FARGO—The tight end depth chart is so extensive at North Dakota State University these days that the Bison coaches practically need a cheat sheet to keep them all straight. There are 11 of them on the roster and most figure to play extensive minutes at some point in their careers. That includes junior Nate Jenson, who is hoping to put a painful offseason to rest with a few breakout performances. With an injury to senior Jeff Illies that will keep him out for a few weeks, Jenson figures to be the best candidate to fill Illies' pass-catching role.
FARGO—Christmas morning is a big deal for the Enderle family from Plymouth, Minn. Everybody, including the neighbors, puts on the skates and does what Minnesotans do best in the winter: Play a little hockey. For North Dakota State University's Holly Enderle, that was just part of her athletic fabric growing up. Besides hockey, there was lacrosse, soccer and a little track and field. Hardly a day went by where she wasn't participating in some kind of sport. There were days when she would play hockey after school and go to soccer at night.
FARGO—Gate City Bank Field was nearly empty late Wednesday morning, Aug. 9, except for some defensive players getting extra work in the southeast corner. You could make a case it's the direct result of Greg Menard going down last week. North Dakota State University's standout defensive end is out for the season with a torn ACL. Replacing his status isn't a problem numerically, but finding it from the production side will probably be a work in progress for a while.
FARGO — Pretty much everything but quarterback and the offensive line. That about sums up where North Dakota State junior Bruce Anderson will play on offense this season, a role that has been in the making for the last two years. He burst on the Bison scene as a true freshman in 2015 and was the team's second-leading rusher behind King Frazier. Anderson averaged 5.6 yards per carry — the best among the stable of running backs.
FARGO - North Dakota State lost another defensive star and this one before the season began. Bison head coach Chris Klieman confirmed Monday morning, Aug. 7., that senior Greg Menard will be lost for the season with a knee injury suffered in practice. Klieman said Menard, who played as a true freshman in 2014, will take a redshirt and return for the 2018 season.
FARGO—Desmond Cain arrived in Fargo in late May, so it's not like North Dakota State's first few days of practice this week were a new world experience for him. But for a receiver who once torched Ohio State, there's a whole lot of learning ahead of him this month. And he makes no secret about that. "These guys have high expectations so I'm just doing my role, following everybody," Cain said. "They've been here before so I'm doing what I can do to help the team."
FARGO—The six North Dakota State running backs were chumming it up at the outset of practice, but it wouldn't be long before the intensity meter started to crank up. It was a hot August morning, especially for North Dakota, and the football practice fields were buzzing again with green and gold jerseys. Ladies and gentlemen, fall camp has started for the Bison. But for the first time in five years, it has started without the reminder that they are the defending FCS national champions. For the first time in five years, nobody asked about complacency.
FARGO — North Dakota State opens football practice on Monday, July 31, and the sporting eyes of the Bison bandwagon want the answer to the question Forum News Service tries to answer every opening day: What are the five burning questions? Here is our take, in order of importance: