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 — 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—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 — 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, Dec. 15, 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, Dec. 12. He doesn't miss many open targets in that sport, either. Briscoe shot 4-over par at Raven Nest Golf Club in Huntsville, Texas, which is the home course for the Sam Houston golf program. On Friday night, Dec. 15, however, the athletic venue where Briscoe will be playing couldn't be more opposite than the serenity of a golf course.
FARGO—An "AO1" cap sat on a press conference table, just inches from Chris Klieman's microphone on Monday afternoon, Dec. 11. 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 again.
FARGO—It's going to be hard for somebody from Wyndmere or Lidgerwood to top Chuck Klosterman as the most famous son from the southeastern North Dakota small towns that form one of the most successful 9-man football programs in the state. The author and national columnist has written for publications like Esquire and ESPN.com. Klosterman is from Wyndmere and the town has snuck into his talks or writings from time to time. He was a high school basketball player in his prep days, but not near the level of Ron Becker, who played for the University of North Dakota from 1972-76.
FARGO — Glassy eyes with a little hint of red around the eyelids and a razor that hasn't been used in a few days — it's what you would expect by Thursday afternoon for a defensive coordinator in the heat of the FCS playoffs. Add to that preparing for a rare triple-option offense and North Dakota State's Matt Entz has triple the thoughts on his mind. It's like cramming for a final exam when you haven't been to class all semester.
FARGO — The season was getting long for Grant Olson not only because he and his North Dakota State teammates were getting ready for final exams, but they had to do extra homework that week against Wofford College (S.C.). The Terriers brought a rare triple-option offense to the Fargodome for a 2012 FCS quarterfinal matchup. The Bison middle linebacker remembers feeling beat up from the rigors of enduring eight physical games in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Olson finished the season with 148 tackles, the most in NDSU's Division I era.
FARGO—North Dakota State's non-conference series with one of the top teams in the Missouri Valley Conference will go down as a split. The Summit League Bison couldn't close a sweep at home against Missouri State on Monday night at Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex. An untimely scoring drought late was NDSU's downfall and the Bears took a 71-58 victory on a night when blizzard warnings were common in the Red River Valley. NDSU got cold, too.