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David Samson / Forum News Service NDSU football players leave practice on Thursday in preparation for the FCS championship game on Saturday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The unbeaten Bison are a heavy favorite to win their third straight title.

Morlock makes impact

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FRISCO, Texas – Chase Morlock was at a high school wrestling tournament in Perham, Minn., during last season’s Division I FCS national championship game.

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Morlock was only able to catch parts of North Dakota State’s 39-13 victory against Sam Houston State en route to a second consecutive national crown.

“They had it on in the little cafeteria area,” said Morlock, who was then a senior at Moorhead High School. “I was in between matches checking it out and coming out because I had already committed at that point and I wanted to know how they were doing. … I saw the way they played and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Morlock will have a more hands-on role in Saturday’s FCS championship game. He’s one of three North Dakota State true freshmen who have played this season. The top-ranked Bison are set to face Towson University (Md.) and have a chance to win a third consecutive FCS national crown.

“I set my goal high right away,” said Morlock, who is a reserve running back who also plays on special teams. “I wanted to play right away. I wanted to be part of this. This is what I came here for, to play in national title games. That is what we do at NDSU.”

Linebacker Nick DeLuca, also a key special teams contributor, and defensive end Brad Ambrosius are the two other Bison true freshmen who are expected to see the field on Saturday.

“It’s really a blessing to come this far with this team,” DeLuca said. “I didn’t really expect to play. It was up to the coaches. I’m glad it turned out the way it did.”

Ambrosius, from De Pere, Wis., remembers watching last year’s title game at his home. He didn’t expect to see the playing field this early in his NDSU career.

“Coming out of high school, I thought I was a very mediocre player,” Ambrosius said. “I thought I’d develop for a year and then maybe get some playing time. I’m glad that it happened. I have no regrets.”

Morlock has rushed for 262 yards and two touchdowns on 47 attempts, including a TD run in the semifinals against New Hampshire. DeLuca has 25 tackles, playing in 11 games. Ambrosius has played in seven games.

“I’m just trying not to blow it for the seniors if I get in,” Ambrosius said of title game. “These seniors have given their heart and soul to the program.”

Turner will play in

East-West game

NDSU senior offensive lineman Billy Turner accepted an invitation to play in the 89th annual East-West Shrine Game Jan. 18 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. He joins cornerback Marcus Williams, who got his invite last week.

Turner is a four-year starter who has been named to virtually every conference and All-American team out there.

“I’ve made a lot of lifetime friends up there, that’s the thing I’ve been thinking about,” he said. “I’m going to miss the guys, miss being in Fargo with the guys I’ve built relationships with in the last four years.”

Towson carrying torch for city

The community of Towson, Md., is comprised of about 55,000 residents located 10 miles north of Baltimore – a major metro city with plenty of professional attention with the NFL’s Ravens and Major League Baseball’s Orioles.

Not far away is the professional mecca of Washington, D.C. with teams in all the major sports.

This week, and in a sense this season, Towson University has gotten more attention.

“No question Baltimore has been needing a college team for a while that they can hang their hat on,” said Towson head coach Rob Ambrose. “One that has respect and has enough of a profile that represents its city the right way.”

Ambrose said his team has done that with a group of hard-working players, who care more about each other than they do themselves. With the Ravens not making the NFL playoffs, the Tigers are the last team standing.

“We’re friends with the Ravens, tight with the Ravens,” Ambrose said. “We’re glad to actually be able to step up and carry the crown for the city of Baltimore and represent the state of Maryland.”

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Eric Peterson
Peterson covers small college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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