FARGO – North Dakota State not only lost a football game last Saturday, the Bison may have lost their starting quarterback for the home opener in two weeks. This much is for sure: Carson Wentz probably won't practice this week.
The senior suffered a high ankle sprain in the 38-35 loss to the Grizzlies, although he played the second half on it. Head coach Chris Klieman said Wentz will be re-evaluated next Monday and he'll have a more clear picture then if Wentz will be available against Weber State (Utah) on Sept. 12.
"We'll see how he responds," Klieman said.
Scott Woken, the NDSU assistant athletic director for sports medicine, said Wentz's injury is more of a severe ankle sprain that includes one of the ligaments that is higher in his ankle. There's not much in the way of treatment other than to stay off it.
"We're not going to do anything magical with him," Woken said. "People react differently to ankle sprains. Some people get better quicker. We'll listen to his body and we'll push him as hard as we can. On the other hand, there is no reason to push him this week without a game."
If the Weber game was this Saturday, Woken said the Bison medical staff would probably treat Wentz differently.
"We have the luxury of a week off," he said.
If Wentz can't go, that would most likely make a starter of redshirt freshman Easton Stick, who was named the No. 2 quarterback over Cole Davis a week before the Montana game. Stick and Davis were in a dead heat for that job since the start of spring football.
Klieman said the backup depth is better this year than it was was last season, which is one reason why Wentz played against Northern Iowa last season despite being limited by a leg injury.
If that situation happens again, such as against Weber, it's doubtful Wentz would play, Klieman said. It was a lesson learned in the 20-3 loss to the Panthers.
"I don't want to put him out there in a situation like we did last year at Northern Iowa," Klieman said. "He wasn't able to run and he wasn't able to execute our offense the way it needs to be executed. I know Carson doesn't want to hear that, but in the same respect, we have to get Easton and Cole ready to go this week."
The Wentz injury appeared to hamper the NDSU offense in the second half against the Grizzlies. With the sprain to his plant leg, Wentz's throws appeared to lose some zip in the fourth quarter. NDSU also shut down all running plays that included Wentz as an option.
The coaches at one point early in the fourth quarter discussed whether to take him out of the game. Klieman said Stick was told to start getting loose, but Wentz told Klieman he could fight through the injury.
"Which is what you want out of your fifth-year senior that's a captain," Klieman said.
NDSU had two other injuries in the Montana game. Safety Tre Dempsey suffered a concussion and offensive guard Zack Johnson a sprained shoulder. Both are expected back at practice later in the week, Klieman said.
Klieman said he received a phone call from Montana head coach Bob Stitt on Monday morning, with one of the topics being the fan incident with running back Chase Morlock after the game. Stitt apologized, saying security needs to do a better job keeping fans off the field and asked Klieman to relay his apology to Morlock, saying the player did nothing wrong.
"I didn't hear much about it until later on that evening," said Klieman, in his first comments on the episode. "Fortunately for me, (defensive coordinator) Matt Entz, who I would trust with my life, saw the incident happen, and he said he believed Chase didn't do anything wrong. He said this fan kept coming up to him, and obviously the video proved that."