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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CHENEY, Wash.—The locals in this college town awoke to something Friday morning they hadn't seen for a few days: the sun. Smoke from forest fires was so dense this week that it was almost like a long-lasting eclipse. It cleared just in time for Saturday's North Dakota State at Eastern Washington football game, which is sold out with kickoff at 3 p.m. (CST). One worker at Roos Field on Friday afternoon said getting anything done at the stadium this week was a chore because of the thick smoke.
FARGO — The cheers, adulation and limelight of being an NFL quarterback is something Eric Hipple dealt with for nine years with the Detroit Lions. Certainly, there were highs and lows, but it's still the NFL and that alone makes him part of a select few athletes. As it turns out, it wasn't his greatest calling.
FARGO — It could be the equivalent of driving a 1970s Pinto station wagon with the wood paneling on the side, hopping in a time machine and finding yourself with the keys to a 2017 Aston Martin. The difference in speed North Dakota State will see from opening day last Saturday to a date with a Division I FCS power this week will probably be striking. And make no mistake, the Bison are preparing for it.
FARGO—It's turning into a club nobody wants to belong to. North Dakota State may have won the football game in a big way over Mississippi Valley State on Saturday night, Sept. 2, but the Bison lost three more players to knee injuries. Left tackle Dillon Radunz, who was making a push to be a starter, and backup running back Demaris Purifoy both were lost for the season with ACL tears bringing the total ACL count at NDSU to three. That includes defensive end Greg Menard who went down in practice in early August.
FARGO — The familiar smell of outdoor foods and festivity returned to the big brick building by 19th Avenue North on Saturday afternoon. Nothing like throwing a party for thousands of your friends on a warm, sunny September day. Everybody and their mother knew the season-opening football game inside wasn't expected to be much. And it wasn't. North Dakota State scored and scored and scored in the first half and the final was 72-7.
FARGO — He looks and acts the part. This past Tuesday, Aug. 29, fourth-year North Dakota State student Easton Stick grabbed a handful of microphones that were hooked up to video cameras and talked about the upcoming football game with Mississippi Valley State. He joked with the nine reporters surrounding him about the name of his street shoes. He answered every question with precision because he's done this media thing many times already. He's the quarterback. The leader. After a year of following Carson, he's following nobody now.
FARGO — It was the toast of the FCS, with the schools involved in the ESPN Kickoff Classic practically popping the champagne corks in celebration of being one of the two select teams to open the college football season. The few. The proud. And now it's back to the way it was. The forgotten. That's life in the FCS when it comes to national attention. Somebody came up with the idea of beginning a week earlier than everybody else, put the game on ESPN and you're the only football party in America on a Saturday at the end of August.
FARGO—There has been a lot to celebrate in the world of professional golf for Tom Hoge, from playing in the same pairing as Tiger in front of thousands to some pretty hefty paydays in his three-year PGA career. On Sunday afternoon, he got to celebrate something else for the first time since 2011. A tournament victory. And he did it in style in the Bobcat North Dakota Open at the Fargo Country Club.
FARGO—One record has already been set this week at the Bobcat North Dakota Open golf tournament—most former champions in one field. That would be six with David Schultz, Andre Metzger, Patrick Stolpe, Ricky Hearden III, Tim Ailes and defending champion Hudson Carpenter slated to tee it up for the three-day event that starts Friday, Aug. 25, at the Fargo Country Club. That list doesn't include PGA Tour player Tom Hoge, who returned to his hometown this week and is entered.
FARGO—As a principal architect for ICON Architectural Group based in Grand Forks, Mike Kuntz has worked on some of the area's sports landmarks like Ralph Engelstad Arena, Scheels Arena and the Fargodome. When it came to the dome, the project required him to do some research on the tradition and history of North Dakota State football.