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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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio—The 16,000-plus fans were filing out of Stambaugh Stadium in the wake of an intense 27-24 North Dakota State University victory over Youngstown State on Saturday night, Oct. 14. Bison linebacker Jabril Cox was emerging from a locker room in the lower level of the facility. In a sense, the freshman was taking a curtain call for the assembled NDSU fans still soaking in the overtime win. "This was a coming-out party for Jabril Cox," said head coach Chris Klieman.
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The North Dakota State running backs were like the visiting fans tailgating around Stambaugh Stadium on Saturday. There wasn't much room to roam and they ran into more folks in red than they're used to at home. That didn't apply to the quarterback in the 27-24 overtime win against Youngstown State.
FARGO — If you want a lesson in Murderers' Row football scheduling, try being Don Morton in 1981. The North Dakota State head coach faced road games at Northern Michigan, Northern Arizona and Northern Colorado to open the season and then the home opener against North Dakota.
FARGO—North Dakota State sophomore Ty Brooks showed his value at Eastern Washington early last month when he returned a kickoff 41 yards. It came after the Eagles scored to take a 7-3 lead, which to date has been NDSU's only deficit this season. Starting from near midfield, it didn't take the Bison long to regain the advantage. A 23-yard touchdown run from Lance Dunn culminated a drive that took only six plays, and the Bison took the lead for good on their way to a 40-13 non-conference football win.
FARGO—It's one thing to have older players on the team, which the North Dakota State University football team has this year with large senior and junior classes. It's another to play like a veteran team and there's no better evidence of maturity than what the Bison have done in the first half in each of their five games. They're not waiting around to put their signature into a opponent. They've outscored their competition 95-7 in the first quarter.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind.—North Dakota State started early, kept the hammer down through three quarters and pounded Indiana State Saturday afternoon, Oct. 7, at Memorial Stadium. It wasn't close from the get-go. Quarterback Easton Stick threw four touchdown passes and the Bison rolled the Sycamores 52-0. The win on a windy, warm and sunny day before 4,743 fans at Memorial Stadium boosted the No. 2-ranked Bison to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and kept the Sycamores winless in five games.
Terre Haute, Ind. — Pick a tight end, any tight end. It doesn't matter with the North Dakota State offense anymore. Find a guy, any guy, who is about, say 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds who can run, block and catch a pass, and just throw him in the lineup. "We have so many guys who can do so many things," said Connor Wentz, the elder statesman of the tight ends. It was the senior Wentz who put an early dagger into Indiana State on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 7, and the Bison went on a seek-and-destroy mission from there to take a 52-0 win at Memorial Stadium.
FARGO—The number crunching of note with the North Dakota State football program began in 2011 when the Bison started their run of Division I FCS national championships. The trendy one is the streak against FBS opponents, which stands at six consecutive wins. In order starting from the latest, it reads: Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Colorado State, Minnesota and Kansas. All, of course, were on the road. It's one thing to be good, it's another to be able to do it at other stadiums that draw much bigger crowds than Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
FARGO—The golf game hasn't gotten any better, but Grant Olson isn't living in Terre Haute, Ind., these days to lower his handicap. The husband of LPGA Tour player Amy (Anderson) Olson is trying to turn around the Indiana State football program as an assistant coach.
FARGO—Another Monday press conference, another knee injury to address for North Dakota State head football coach Chris Klieman. This one included another linebacker, too. Junior Dan Marlette is expected to miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury suffered in Saturday's 38-11 win over Missouri State, Klieman confirmed. Marlette reached the starting lineup this season for the first time in his career and Klieman said he was having an "all-conference" type of season. Marlette had two forced fumbles and was 10th on the team in tackles.