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 decision was made Thursday that North Dakota State wide receiver Darrius Shepherd and his injured hamstring was going to be good for just one half in Saturday's FCS quarterfinal game with South Dakota State. It wasn't the first time Shepherd was in that situation. An injured shoulder rendered him useful for just one half last year when NDSU hosted Northern Iowa. So Klieman picked the second half. He made the same decision against the Jackrabbits, opting to play his leading pass catcher in the final two quarters.
Fargo As far as point spreads go, it was suspicious that Las Vegas bookies moved North Dakota State from a six-point favorite to around 16 in the hours before the FCS quarterfinal game with South Dakota State. It made you think: Do they know something where it's 60 degrees nobody else does at minus-9?
Fargo It was toward the latter stages of the regular season last year when it was time for North Dakota State junior Brad Ambrosius to shape up, or perhaps ship out in favor of another, younger defensive end. Two years prior, after all, he showed so much promise to the point that he played as a true freshman.
FARGO—The production in the rushing game the first half of the college football season was not up to North Dakota State standards. The last time the Bison and South Dakota State played it was particularly subpar when NDSU finished with 161 yards. It wasn't that great the following week, either, with 197 against Western Illinois. But since the Bison left Macomb, Ill., something clicked. NDSU has been living in the 200-yard rushing zip code ever since.
FARGO—North Dakota State center Dexter Werner was all over the place Wednesday night, Dec. 7, with 30 points and 13 rebounds. But 1 on 5 is not going to win you many men's basketball games. The University of North Dakota took control from the get-go—and never let go—to take a 74-56 victory at the Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex. It was UND's first victory in Fargo since the Division I series resumed and the first one overall since a 97-92 win in overtime in 2003, when both were Division II schools.
FARGO—It's the senior season for North Dakota State center Dexter Werner and the school rewarded him nicely with the schedule. He gets to play in a game against the University of North Dakota twice this year. There's something about the hard-working, intensity-driven nature of Werner that just fits with this game between two schools 70 miles apart. They play in different conferences and UND has a different nickname than the one Werner used to watch on TV in this game but it's still NDSU vs. UND. "I don't have a problem with it, being twice," Werner said.
FARGO—The North Dakota State football team isn't the only athletic entity scrambling for a game plan on Saturday, Dec. 10. The NDSU staff in charge of game day operations is also being put to the test. The NCAA, through a memo to the NDSU athletic department dated Dec. 5 that clarified its stance from prior action, outlined a new policy in one paragraph that essentially banned NDSU from its "Thunderstruck" team intro video.
FARGO—Christmas is still three weeks away but in one respect, Amy Anderson already got the gift she wanted for 2017: Priority status on the LPGA Tour. She unwrapped it herself over the weekend finishing in a tie for 12th place out of 156 players in the LPGA Qualifying School, a five-round tournament that is as pressure-packed as it gets in the sport.
FARGO—Just as sure as the iPhone comes up with some sort of technology upgrade, the football teams at North Dakota State and South Dakota State will most likely do their best to do something different in the rematch. It's the great unknown that will be debated behind closed office doors this week. The teams meet at 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 10, in the quarterfinals of the Division I FCS playoffs, the third time the two programs will play each other twice in one season. NDSU defeated the Jackrabbits in the 2012 and 2014 playoffs in the second round.
FARGO—It wasn't like last year for the Missouri Valley Football Conference, which went 24-1 in nonconference games and qualified five teams for the FCS playoffs. That was a historical year for the league.