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 in the year or two after Craig Bohl was hired as the North Dakota State head football coach in 2003 when the footprint for stocking his football team was obvious: Get the big guys from around here and go south to find some speed. It wasn't that cut-and-dried, of course, but when Bohl hired Reggie Moore as an assistant football coach, the No. 1 job for Reggie was to take advantage of his name recognition in the Houston area and bring some recruits north.
Fargo Bruce Anderson went over 1,000 yards rushing for the season. He went way over. In fact, he went so far over on Friday night that he ended up in Texas. That's where North Dakota State is headed after defeating Sam Houston State 55-13 in front of 18,279 fans who threw a hoedown at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. The only thing missing was Bruce Almighty leaving the field wearing a cowboy hat. The win put the Bison in the FCS title game for the sixth time in seven years Jan. 6 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
Fargo Tim Polasek was known to blurt out whatever came to his mind when he was the North Dakota State offensive coordinator, like the day when he was in a meeting with the Bison fullbacks and tight ends. A nickname for the position group just came to him. Crew Chiefs. The thought could be traced to his playing days at Concordia University (Wis.), but the message fit the tough, old school-style of the Bison offense.
FARGO—The statistical sheet of the Sam Houston State offense has so many numbers on it you practically need your accountant to sort it all out. Quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe, for instance, has completed 81 more passes than North Dakota State quarterback Easton Stick has attempted. It's a high-flying, up-tempo attack that has done an assault on the school and FCS record books the last couple of seasons. The Bison will see the reality of it Friday night in the FCS semifinal clash at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
FARGO—The vehicle so-to-speak that carries the FCS title-winning team to the south stage of Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, for the post-game awards ceremony has for the most part been a two-wheeled apparatus. Translation: Two programs in the last six years have been crowned champions. Sam Houston State head coach K.C. Keeler feels like his Bearkats are on the verge of getting a new car. "We feel like we're the third wheel," he said.
FARGO—About the only thing missing from the relaxed look of Grant Morgan outside the North Dakota State football locker room earlier this week was him whistling some sort of soft gospel tune. The maturity was impressive. It's not as if the senior defensive tackle has nothing going on these days. Of course, everybody knows about the FCS semifinal clash with Sam Houston State (Texas) on Friday night at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
FARGO—With final exams in the rear-view mirror, Sam Houston State quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe got nine holes of golf in on Tuesday. He doesn't miss many open targets in that sport, either. Briscoe shot 4-over par at Raven Nest Golf Club, which is the home course for the Sam Houston golf program in Huntsville, Texas. On Friday night, however, the athletic venue where Briscoe will be playing couldn't be more opposite than the serenity of a golf course.
FARGO—Quarterback Easton Stick is 32-3 as the starter at North Dakota State. He has an even better record in the classroom. Before the Bison junior gets ready to take on Sam Houston State in Friday night's Division I FCS semifinal playoff game at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome, he'll be walking through graduation ceremonies. Stick, a junior eligibility-wise, completed his undergraduate course work in 3½ years and is already enrolled in the NDSU MBA program next semester. He carries a 3.91 grade-point average in sport management with not many Bs along the way.
FARGO—An "AO1" cap sat on a press conference table, just inches from Chris Klieman's microphone on Monday afternoon. Before talking about Sam, the North Dakota State head football coach talked about Carson. Carson Wentz, the former Bison quarterback, tore the ACL in his left knee on Sunday and the official diagnosis came down a few hours before Klieman's weekly media address. The cap, a reference to Wentz's "AO1 Foundation," was a tribute of sorts to the Philadelphia Eagles' leader.
Fargo You can do a lot in 4 minutes and 49 seconds around the Fargodome on a Saturday afternoon. You can drive a custom-made Bison fan bus into the tailgating lot, for instance, and take about that much time to set up for the day's festivities. It takes about that much time from the moment the lights go out and the North Dakota State "Thunderstruck" intro gets going until the lights come on a gain.