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 1991 NCAA Division II first-round game for North Dakota State was a shock to the system for all involved with Bison football. The 27-7 loss to Minnesota State-Mankato was the first opening-round defeat in program history and the first loss in 14 home playoff games. Not only that, NDSU went into the game as the defending national champion. "I remember every play of that game," said Todd Wash, a linebacker on that team. "It was the same thing with this one."
FARGO—North Dakota State hired a women's head soccer coach with 13 years of experience in the college ranks. Michael Regan is only 33 years old. It's been a quick ascent in the business and on Friday, Jan. 19, NDSU introduced its fifth head coach in program history. Regan was 20 years old when he took the head men's coaching position at North Iowa Area Community College. He was a player at North Iowa for two years before taking over for Colin Murphy, a coach who was also a lawyer in town.
FARGO—The leap from being one of the top wrestlers in Minnesota at Jordan High School to Division I competition at North Dakota State was higher than Andrew Fogarty figured. The first couple of years took some acclimatizing. "It kind of shocked me I guess," he said. The shock is long gone. The redshirt sophomore will take NDSU's winningest record into NDSU's Big 12 Conference dual Saturday, Jan. 20, against No. 22-ranked Wyoming, a matchup that will probably determine once and for all if the Bison deserve to be a Top 25 team in the wrestling polls.
FARGO—It's certainly in the top five of the most-often asked questions of North Dakota State head football coach Chris Klieman every August: Which true freshmen have the best chance of playing right away? The way things are going in the NCAA boardrooms this offseason, the answer may be simple. All of them. At least for four games.
FARGO—Former North Dakota State defensive lineman Nate Tanguay leaves next week to start training for a shot at professional football. It's a quest that may even include a position change to the offensive line. Whatever it takes to get there, he said. "I don't know if it will ever happen but it's something I'm open to," Tanguay said. "Even tight end, throw me in there."
FARGO—The home court doesn't mean much in the North Dakota State and University of North Dakota men's basketball series these days. For the fifth straight game, the visiting team left the arena in a celebratory mood. And so continued NDSU's up-and-down men's basketball season.
FARGO—It was a two-hour layover in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Monday morning, Jan. 15, two more hours for Tom Hoge to perhaps contemplate what could have been and what actually happened. That's the thing about the PGA Tour — if you don't win the tournament, there is always something. What the Fargo South High School graduate can take away is his highest career finish, a third-place showing at the Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii. It has him on the doorstep of threatening to reach the next level in PGA Tour status.
FARGO—It could be a dogfight when trying to decipher the best team ever in NCAA Division I FCS football. Generally, two candidates emerge from a pool of great teams since the subdivision was formed in the early 1980s: Marshall of 1996 and North Dakota State of 2013. Both went 15-0, although they did it different fashion. Marshall had wide receiver Randy Moss and a virtually unstoppable offense. NDSU had a relentless defense and probably better overall team balance, including the winningest quarterback in FCS history.
FARGO—It was a time out that was more about attitude than strategy. North Dakota State men's basketball coach Dave Richman had seen enough when a lazy offensive rebound turned into an Oral Roberts 3-point field goal. Richman's face turned a few shades of red in a 30-second rant that had his players paying attention. "He was getting after us a bit," said guard A.J. Jacobson. "We were giving up some offensive rebounds and we lost a little focus there."
FARGO—The Summit League reached No. 12 last week in conference RPI, the power ranking system that determines the strongest leagues of the 32 in Division I men's basketball. It represented the biggest gain from any conference from a year ago with an improvement of eight spots. There have been some notable wins, like Fort Wayne defeating Indiana for the second straight year, although a win over the Hoosiers isn't as big as it used to be. South Dakota State beat Iowa and Mississippi; and Oral Roberts and North Dakota State both defeated Missouri State.