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Game Day notebook: Bison fullback Logan Hofstedt expects to ready to go against Samford

NDSU junior Logan Hofstedt left last weekend's second-round victory with an injury, but said he's on track to play in Friday's FCS quarterfinal.

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North Dakota State’s Logan Hofstedt has been a versatile player in the Bison offense this fall, playing fullback and tight end this season.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum
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FARGO — North Dakota State junior Logan Hofstedt's contributions don't often show up on the stat sheet with five catches for 53 yards this season, but he's a vital contributor for the Bison offense.

Hofstedt's blocking has helped NDSU average 277.7 rushing yards per game, while his versatility has helped provide depth at multiple positions due to injuries.

The 6-foot-1, 237-pound Hofstedt is listed as the backup at both fullback and tight end heading into the Division I quarterfinals. The Bison host Samford at 6 p.m. Friday at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

"Yeah, it's been quite a journey," said Hofstedt, who left NDSU's second-round victory last weekend with an upper-body injury.

Hofstedt said he's on track to be ready to go for the quarterfinals.

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"We're getting better every single day and if everything goes the way we planned it to be I'll be out there Friday at 6 o'clock," said Hofstedt, who is from Cannon Falls, Minn. "Luckily, we've got a great medical staff so I knew once they told me kind of what they were thinking that I was gonna be OK."

The Bison have already lost starting tight end Noah Gindorff and fullback Hunter Luepke for the season to injuries. Gindorff and Luepke are both considered pro prospects and Luepke had been invited to the Senior Bowl all-star game.

"We rely on Noah and Hunter a lot," Hofstedt said. "They're great mentors for us and they always have been ever since we stepped foot on campus."

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North Dakota State fullback Hunter Brozio has been a key member of his position group for the Bison.
Alyssa Goelzer/The Forum

Junior tight end Joe Stoffel and junior fullback Hunter Brozio are the listed starters at their respective positions heading into the Samford game, but Hofstedt is a valuable chess piece with the Bison often using formations with multiple tight ends and/or fullbacks. Senior fullback Luke Waters has also been a contributing player.

"They do a great job, just the flexibility that we can utilize those guys with," Bison head coach Matt Entz said of the fullbacks. "They play on the ball, off the ball, in the backfield, they're special teams guys, as well."

Hofstedt's longest catch was a 32-yard reception against the University of North Dakota on a play in which he made a diving catch after the ball deflected off the helmet of a UND defender.

Hofstedt said he started to learn a more expanded role as far as position versatility last spring and that has carried into this fall.

"It was a little different at first just to get used to lining up in a different position or a different stance a little bit, sometimes being flexed out," Hofstedt said. "It's something that takes a lot of reps to get used to, but I've (done) it a lot at practice every single day and I'm finally getting comfortable doing that."

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Hofstedt said it's been invaluable to play with a talent like Luepke.

"It's incredible just to watch his film and look at all the hard work he puts in at practice, just to try to mimic that the best that you can, you know if you can you're going to put yourself in a really good spot to succeed," Hofstedt said.

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Parking around dome could get complicated

With the Bison and Bulldogs set for a 6 p.m. kickoff and the NDSU wrestling team hosting the University of Minnesota at that adjacent Scheels Center at Sanford Health Athletic Complex at 7 p.m., parking could become an issue, especially for late-arriving wrestling fans. Tailgate lots at the dome will open at their customary five hours before game time at 1 p.m.

All football parking areas and policies will remain the same, with paid parking in the Fargodome lots and surrounding parking areas. Wrestling fans are encouraged to use the parking lots on the south side of the Scheels Center and east side of the Shelly Ellig Indoor Track & Field Facility after 6 p.m., as well as parking in the in R lot south of the Ellig indoor facility.

Parking will also be available north of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex in the Fargodome lot, but will not be free, and may be limited due to the football game.

Former Bison linebackers coach passes away

    Phil Engle was a star football player at South Dakota State who played two years in the old World Football League, winning a title with the Birmingham Americans in 1974. It wasn't his last championship.
    Engle went on to coach linebackers at NDSU and hooked himself to the Don Morton coaching train, with the Bison winning a Division II national title in 1983. Morton and several of his assistants, including Engle, went on to coaching stops at the University of Tulsa and the University of Wisconsin, where Engle stopped his coaching career in 1988. He died recently at the age of 72.

    Engle got into the commercial roofing business after football. He also got involved in his Baptist church serving as a deacon to his congregation. A memorial service is set for Friday, Dec. 9, in Stillwell, Okla.

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    North Dakota State defensive end Spencer Waege finished No. 13 in voting for the Buck Buchanan Award.
    Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co.

    Etc. etc. etc.

    • NDSU has made 13 consecutive trips (2010-2022) to the FCS quarterfinals. The Bison have 42 FCS playoff victories, which rank second behind Georgia Southern — now in the FBS — with 45.
    • Samford University won the Southern Conference with an 8-0 record in league play. The Bulldogs' (11-1) only loss this season came against FBS and Southeastern Conference power Georgia. Samford is making its second appearance in the national quarterfinals. The Bulldogs made the national semifinals in 1991.
    • Samford junior quarterback Michael Hiers finished fourth in the voting for the Payton Award, which is given to the top offensive player in the FCS. The top three finalists are headed to Frisco, Texas, where the award winner will be named in early January ahead of the national championship game. Hiers has completed 331 of 431 passes (77%) for 3,317 yards and 35 touchdowns with three interceptions. The 6-foot-1, 211-pound Hiers has also rushed for 161 yards and three TDs on 103 attempts. Hiers is a game-decision against the Bison after leaving Samford's second-round game due to injury.
    • NDSU senior defensive end Spencer Waege finished 13th in the voting for the Buck Buchanan Award, which goes to the top defensive player in the FCS. Illinois State linebacker Zeke Vandenburgh is one of three players invited to the awards ceremony on Jan. 7 in Frisco.
    Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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