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—North Dakota State is the Summit League leader in defense, allowing the fewest points per game of any of the nine teams. Moreover, in the last two games, the Bison have hit 29 of 47 3-point goals with guard Paul Miller on a 23-of-35 3-point shooting binge. The boys are hot. "I think the guys are playing with a tremendous amount of confidence," said NDSU head coach Dave Richman. "I said from the outset this is a team that has the potential to be better offensively."
FARGO — The North Dakota State 2017 football recruiting class will be unveiled in just under two weeks. For years, after all, the first Wednesday in February has been designated as National Signing Day, the first day recruits can make it official with their letter of intent. But if NCAA legislation continues to move through the proper channels, that may change next year. The NCAA Division I Council, in action taken this week, is recommending approval of a 72-hour mid-December signing date, as well as the February deadline for football.
FARGO — The business side of the National Football League hit former North Dakota State linebacker Kyle Emanuel this week when his San Diego Chargers announced they were moving the franchise to Los Angeles next season. For the fans, bitterness is sure to remain for years. For the players, the next several months will be a mixture of uncertainty and optimism. At least those are the early thoughts of Emanuel.
FARGO — The measurables like points and rebounds in Dexter Werner's game are simple to look up. You can find them on any statistical sheet. The other stuff; well, if you can bottle it and sell it in 2017, then you'll be a wealthy person. It's mostly effort and the North Dakota State senior was relentless in the second half Saturday afternoon in leading the Bison to an 82-70 men's basketball victory over Nebraska-Omaha. It was the second straight impressive second half performance for NDSU, which improved to 2-0 in the Summit League and 10-5 overall.
FARGO — To make the selection that Carson Wentz is The Forum's "Sports Story of the Year" is almost akin to John Hoeven winning the North Dakota Senate race running virtually unopposed. It wasn't a matter of who was going to be the top vote getter, but more of an issue of what element of the Wentz saga was the best? It was a multiple choice question with four possible answers: • Leading his North Dakota State football team to its fifth straight FCS national title, the most consecutive championships in college football history.
FARGO — The NCAA on Wednesday, Dec. 21, approved the medical hardship for North Dakota State linebacker Nick DeLuca, who will get another year of football eligibility and return for his senior season next year. The action was expected since DeLuca had met the general NCAA standards for a hardship. To be eligible for a medical waiver, a player cannot compete in more than 30 percent of the season or three games, whichever is greater. The injury also has to occur in the first half of the season and has to be incapacitating.
FARGO—Not all has been shiny with North Dakota State's new Scheels Center at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex. The athletic department, after a fair number of complaints about leg room in the main arena, is having the seats adjusted to accommodate fans at basketball games and wrestling meets. Specifically, athletic director Matt Larsen said Irwin Seating Company, which manufactured and installed the chairs, will alter the "tilt" of the back of the seats that will create at least two more inches of leg room. "Which I think will go a long way," Larsen said.
FARGO—The non-conference portion of the men's basketball season is usually a time to problem solve and it's no different for North Dakota State. The Bison appear to be working out...
FARGO — There will be no wondering if the renovation of Toyota Stadium and the temporary reduction of seating will affect the thousands of North Dakota State fans that descend to Frisco, Texas, every January. There will be no app showing the masses on their way to the Texas border. And there will be no NDSU flag tied to the Texas state line sign. It had to end sometime, somewhere and somehow. And James Madison University running back Khalid Abdullah put up a stop sign that the rest of the Division I FCS subdivision was probably wondering if it would ever come.
FARGO — North Dakota State junior Grant Morgan started the season as a defensive tackle hoping to further his contributions in the Bison football lineup. He's ending the year as a go-to starter who's being counted on to make a difference. The signature play to date came last weekend when he sliced through the South Dakota State offensive line and tackled running back Brady Mengarelli for a safety. It was a key swing play in the quarterfinal win over the Jackrabbits that gave the Bison a semifinal matchup Friday, Dec. 16, against James Madison University.