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 — It wasn't more than a few days after North Dakota State returned from its Division I FCS national title victory last January when the subject of recruiting a punter became a newsworthy item. It was almost as if Garret Wegner was treated like he wasn't coming back to the team. Wegner punted three times in 2017 as the backup to Jackson Koonce and the last one was still fresh. With Koonce on the sidelines trying to shake an injury, it went for 26 yards, the only time he saw the field against James Madison in the championship game.
FARGO — The Saturday, Sept. 29, Missouri Valley Football Conference opener between South Dakota State and North Dakota State will be the 15th time the schools will play for the Dakota Marker. No, Easton Stick and Taryn Christion haven't played in the previous 14; it just seems that way.
FARGO — The Dakota Marker has been hanging out in Brookings, S.D., for the last two years, the result of South Dakota State beating North Dakota State in a regular season football game. For Bison starters Dillon Radunz, Dan Marlette and Greg Menard, they had no say in the outcome last year. They were injured and missed the game. For linebacker Jabril Cox, he had a limited voice.
FARGO — North Dakota State and South Dakota State had such an easy time of it in the nonconference season that it was questionable if they even played a Division I FCS schedule. The Bison outscored their opponents by an average of 42-7 and it could have been worse. The Jackrabbits were even more dominating outscoring their two foes 68-10. Those two statistical facts will meet head on Saturday afternoon at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. It's the Missouri Valley Football Conference opener and two of the best teams in the country will face off right away.
FARGO — The buses to carry the University of Delaware's football team from Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome to nearby Hector International Airport could have started before the second quarter began Saturday, Sept. 22. On that note, the charter plane to fly the team back to Newark, Del., could have began preboarding operations at halftime.
FARGO—The city of Chihuahua, Mexico, is located about 260 miles south of El Paso, Texas. Or, for a better frame of reference for North Dakota State football fans, about 760 miles from Frisco, Texas. It's home to historical buildings and landmarks that date back to the 1700s that are well preserved today. The landscape is part desert, but the mountains surrounding the city are not far away. The hunting is good, which is a surprise to people not from there. The natural beauty is home to more than 800,000 people and that includes all 10 members of the Jones family.
FARGO — North Dakota State and the University of Delaware have never met on the football field, a series that will debut Saturday, Sept. 22, at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. The Blue Hens are nothing new to Bison head coach Chris Klieman, however. As the defensive coordinator for Northern Iowa, he was tasked with trying to control the Delaware offense in the 2007 FCS quarterfinals. The Delaware quarterback was Joe Flacco and it didn't turn out well for the Panthers. Their season ended at home in the UNI-Dome with a 39-27 loss to the Blue Hens.
FARGO — They were career-best professional golf seasons for local players Tom Hoge and Amy Olson. Both are in their mid-20s and both made unprecedented strides this year in earnings and confidence. Yet, in a testament to how cruel the game can be, both feel like they left something on the course. "It was a step in the right direction but I'm not quite where I want to be as far as finishing off the year," Hoge said.
FARGO — The Delaware Field House was built in 1966 for basketball and indoor track and field at the University of Delaware. The modern use of the structure, a turfed indoor practice venue, will get a workout this week. It has nothing to do with weather, either. The Blue Hens, in prepping for Saturday's Division I FCS football clash at North Dakota State, will challenge the speaker levels to prepare for the crowd noise at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
FARGO—Fans watching the final two quarters of North Dakota State's win over North Alabama last Saturday, Sept. 15, saw a handful of true freshmen make their college debut for the Bison. In all, eight true freshmen have seen the field this year through two games. It's the result of a new NCAA rule that allows players who haven't redshirted to play up to four games without losing a season of eligibility. For the Bison, it's a new rule that has changed the way they practice.