KOLPACK: These are not your Tre Roberson Redbirds
FARGO -- It was business as usual for the North Dakota State football team on Saturday, with the quarterback showing a fine arm, the running game displaying some power and the defense keeping Illinois State's points to a manageable level.
FARGO - It was business as usual for the North Dakota State football team on Saturday, with the quarterback showing a fine arm, the running game displaying some power and the defense keeping Illinois State's points to a manageable level.
It was homecoming, the weather was perfect and the west parking lot played host to another huge party.
As for the Redbirds, two rolls and no coffee.
That is my tribute to legendary sportscaster Jim Adelson, who at one time was "The Man" in the local television sports market, a pioneer who took the craft and brought it to levels never seen around here.
Jimbo passed away in Arizona at the age of 91 on Friday night. His famous two rolls slogan had more to do with a basketball shot going in and out, but he was a beauty no matter the sport. He never shied away from controversy, whether it was getting into a verbal fight with Ed Schultz or lecturing phone callers over bad questions on his Sunday morning TV show.
In that regard, Jimbo would have felt right at home in the postgame press conference after the Bison defeated the Redbirds 31-10 at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. ISU head coach Brock Spack didn't shy away from potential controversy, either.
He was still fuming over a 15-yard personal foul penalty on ISU early in the fourth quarter.
The Bison were leading 31-10 at the time and the infraction never led to any points - NDSU kicker Cam Pedersen missed a 30-yard field goal. Even after that miss, Spack had to be refrained from further approaching the referees by a couple of his assistant coaches.
He was asked afterward if he could even comment on it.
"I'd be happy to comment, that's one of the worst calls I've ever seen," he said. "I'm sticking up for our own players now. I mean, how can you blow that call? I'm still mad about it, because I've lost games in this league because of those things. Every coach has. That is ridiculous. That is a phantom call. We hit our own player. He was 5 yards away from any NDSU player. Ran into the back of one of our own players and we get a 15-yard penalty. I don't get it. It's just frustrating. Anybody see that way I saw it? We hit our own guy. They called a foul on our guy for hitting our guy."
I saw it. I wrote "weak call" on our Forum Communications live blog. But it also didn't factor into the game.
Spack admitted he was frustrated and joked while leaving the press conference if anybody had enough money to pay for his fine. It's a tough business, being a head coach in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, where every game is a battle.
Remember that Missouri State team that left the Fargodome last year in such bad shape following a 55-0 defeat that you thought maybe a move down to Division II would be a better option for the future? The Bears blasted Indiana State 45-24 on Saturday, the same Indiana State team that beat Illinois State last week. It snapped MSU's 13-game conference losing streak.
Perhaps we didn't realize how young ISU is - even though it defeated a Big Ten Conference team in Northwestern.
These are not your Tre Roberson-Marshaun Coprich Redbirds.
They had no ground game against the Bison, unlike Illinois State's former quarterback-running back dynamic duo that led them to the national title game in 2014 and the semifinals last season.
"Just growing pains for us," Spack said.
Specifically, growing pains for his quarterback who showed a potent arm torching the Bison secondary early. Jake Kolbe finished 23 of 35 passing for 285 yards, but not having the run-pass threat that Roberson did was obvious as the game wore on. He was sacked six times and ISU finished with 37 yards rushing on 24 carries.
"We had to throw the ball around more because we were behind," Kolbe said. "We'll get better and we'll be better next week running the ball. It makes it tough when you can't do both but no matter, we had to throw more because we were behind."
So the Bison now head to Missouri State having to pay more attention to the Bears. NDSU is sitting pretty at 4-0 overall and 1-0 in the league. It doesn't take long for those thoughts to change, either.
Illinois State was sitting pretty at 2-0 after beating Northwestern. An FBS win over a Power Five conference looks good at FCS playoff selection time and now it appears they may not even get into that discussion.
"Yeah, we've dug ourselves a hole," Spack said. "We've had a lot of wins around our program. We've done a lot of great things but it's one of those seasons right now. The only way to get out of it is to keep working."