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—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.
FARGO—The sea of big-time non-conference matchups in the FCS will be of tidal wave proportions Saturday starting at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. Eastern Washington is coming to town. About an hour and a half later, Montana and Northern Iowa will kick it off at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa.
FARGO—It will forever go down as one of the most controversial plays in the history of North Dakota State football. And the answer to the question depends on whether you played for NDSU or Eastern Washington. Was it a fumble?
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.