Klieman eager for first home game, GameDay
FARGO -- The North Dakota State student body showed how much they missed Bison football at 8 a.m. on Monday. The 4,000 allotted student tickets for the home opener at the Fargodome were gone in 3 minutes.
FARGO - The North Dakota State student body showed how much they missed Bison football at 8 a.m. on Monday. The 4,000 allotted student tickets for the home opener at the Fargodome were gone in 3 minutes.
That’s 22 tickets claimed online per second.
“I can’t wait to see them standing out there ready to go to get into the Fargodome,” said NDSU head coach Chris Klieman.
The Bison players can’t wait to get inside the dome on game day, either. The home opener is Saturday against Incarnate Word University (Texas) and after a 2-0 start on the road, there’s nothing like spending Saturday at home.
Adding spice to home cooking, of course, is the appearance this week of ESPN’s “College GameDay,” which will come to NDSU for the second straight year. The Bison approached the appearance of the popular show last year with a no-denial, enjoy-the-moment attitude, and that apparently won’t change this time around.
Klieman said the hope is for the players to bus downtown to the “GameDay” set late Friday afternoon after practice to take in the atmosphere.
“It’s a wonderful experience and I want them to enjoy that,” Klieman said. “And then Saturday is game day for us.”
Klieman will have a lot on his plate, also. Not only is it his first game at home as the head coach - he’ll get to lead the team on the field in the darkened dome for the first time to ACDC’s “Thunderstruck” - he’ll be dealing with the media accessibility of ESPN, which will probably have him live at some point during the show.
“I’m excited, I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” he said of the home opener. “Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday and we were all in here in December (when he was hired). Since then, we’ve had hires and seems like it’s been a long time as well. I’m excited about leading those guys out of the tunnel.”
In his prior three years, Klieman, as the defensive backs coach, has already been on the sideline when the players take the field. Having a mid-September opening date has not been unheard of in the Division I era – NDSU had first home games later than Sept. 13 in 2009 and 2010.
In both cases, however, the Bison came in with a loss. They lost at Iowa State and Sam Houston State in 2009 and dropped a conference game to Northern Iowa in 2010.
This time, they’re 2-0 and maintained their No. 1 ranking this week in the Sports Network media and the FCS coaches top 25 polls. They did not sustain any new injuries in the 24-7 win at Weber State last Saturday and will enter the Incarnate Word game with the same two-deep depth chart.
“They were two extremely hard-fought games,” Klieman said. “Last week was a physical game. Weber State had a great plan offensively and defensively.”
NDSU took the redshirt off of freshman defensive end Greg Menard against the Wildcats.
“We feel he’s physically ready,” Klieman said. “He just needs some time mentally to catch up.”
Klieman said sophomore middle linebacker Nick DeLuca will probably play more after some impressive plays against Weber State. Sophomore Tom Barneson was the kickoff guy against Weber State instead of Ben LeCompte and Klieman said that was simply to give Barneson a chance to perform in a game.
“Maybe it takes a little stress out of Ben having to kick so much,” he said of his punter. “(Barneson) has done some good things in practice.”