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 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.
FARGO—The home court has not been so homey for the North Dakota State men's basketball team. This one was like walking outside of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex on Thursday night, Jan. 11, with a T-shirt on. It was about 10 below with a decent wind chill factor for the weather record. That was also about the coldness factor of the Bison shooters. One of the country's top 3-point shooting teams coming in, NDSU was nowhere near that kind of accuracy and the University of Denver took advantage in taking a 67-61 victory in front of 2,543 fans.
FARGO—The future is looking more and more like medical school for North Dakota State junior center Spencer Eliason, who spent part of this week interviewing for a post-graduate option. If getting through a medical curriculum requires grit, patience and perseverance, then Eliason can already put that on his resume. His first two to three years with the Bison basketball team was nothing but a challenge. "There were quite a few low points," Eliason said.