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 routine is the same, it has been since Cam Pedersen was a freshman in high school in Eau Claire, Wis. At North Dakota State, he kicked his first extra point on Sept. 12, 2015, after a Carson Wentz 27-yard touchdown run and the process has rarely gotten off track since.
FARGO — It has its own nickname in the laurels of North Dakota State football playoff history. It was the 2000 NCAA Division II semifinals at Delta State (Miss.) and torrential rains left the Delta Devils' field in a state of mush. It was called the "Kitty Litter Game," mainly because that was what the field resembled — a box of cat litter. Chris Willis was there, a fledgling assistant coach with Delta State who was just getting his feet wet, so to speak, in the business. Eighteen years later, Willis will once again coach on the opposite field of the Bison.
FARGO — It's 10 straight weeks, now. It's 10 consecutive football games for North Dakota State where there will be no more thinking about going home on the weekend to help on the farm or driving the country roads looking for a place to hunt. It's all business now. And it starts at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, when the Bison host the University of North Alabama at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. NDSU will go into it virtually healthy as it can be, perhaps minus a nagging hamstring injury to backup running back Seth Wilson.
FARGO—The Missouri Valley Football Conference has had its share of King Kong moments over the last several years. The league has been a beast in the FCS not only with one member winning national titles but an overall balance that was better than anybody else. Take away Missouri State and everybody has made the FCS playoffs at least once since 2009. Take away MSU and Southern Illinois and everybody has reached postseason at least once since 2014. In the immortal words of MC Hammer, you can't touch that.
FARGO—It's an old cliche of a long snapper in football that caused Ross Kennelly and his dad, Paul, to share a laugh together last Saturday. Nobody heard Ross' name being called—and that's a good thing. He was on the money with all seven extra points and each of Garret Wegner's three punts in the 49-3 season-opening victory against Cal Poly. It was the sophomore's first game as the Bison long snapper after stumbling onto the job almost by accident.
FARGO — Josh Duhamel was a very good football and basketball player in his day at Minot High, certainly a better athlete than he is a coin flipper. The actor and North Dakota native lost the pre-game flip at midfield at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome, with a Cal Poly player calling the correct side. Duhamel could have redeemed himself if he was a master electrician, but it took some guy at the lighting corporate headquarters in the Twin Cities to talk the dome folks to fix the lights going out. The official word was possible processor error, or something like that.
"Without you here I feel so cold, I need my escape and I found that in you." • Jaylaan Wimbush FARGO — It was 10 years ago when Jacqueline Wimbush passed away from leukemia. It was four days before Jaylaan Wimbush's 12th birthday. To deal with the loss and the subsequent pain, the young boy began to write poetry with the passing of his mother. Not one who liked to talk about it, Wimbush found that writing was another way to deal with it all. His mother was only 39 years old.
FARGO — I don't know about anybody else around here, but I'm ready for some football. It's time for a diversion from the real world. Don't tell the North Dakota State coaches and athletic administration that Saturday game days at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome are a playtime hobby. It's a pressure cooker, no doubt. But for you fans out there? Division I FCS football is the great diversion. We need it.
FARGO — The days are 24 hours long in San Luis Obispo, Calif., too, so you wonder how Joe Protheroe makes use of every minute. The running back for Cal Poly and one of the top backs in the FCS has plenty going on. Certainly, there's football and his Mustangs have been busy preparing for the season opener Saturday afternoon at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome against North Dakota State. Off the field, he and his wife, Ashley, recently welcomed their third child — and there's also this thing called school.
FARGO—It was perhaps the quietest fall football camp for North Dakota State in several years, with not much movement in either the depth chart or the serious injury front. On Monday, Aug. 27, game week on campus officially started. About the only news of significance from head coach Chris Klieman's first Monday press conference was the naming of the No. 2 quarterback behind Easton Stick. Redshirt freshman Holden Hotchkiss won the job, at least for this week, over redshirt freshman Noah Sanders.