Bison prepare for challenging road game

There was a lot of laboring in the North Dakota State football office on Monday. Playing Northwestern State (La.) on the road is a major workload for anybody.


There was a lot of laboring in the North Dakota State football office on Monday. Playing Northwestern State (La.) on the road is a major workload for anybody.

The Demons have won 22 straight nonconference games at Turpin Stadium, a streak that goes back 11 years. They started the season ranked 11th in the USA Today/ESPN pre-season poll and opened with a 27-23 come-from-behind victory over Division I-A Louisiana-Monroe last Thursday.

Also consider the Demons averaged 48.5 points in winning all six home games last year and will probably not forget last year when NDSU erased a 17-7 halftime deficit to win 30-17 at the Fargodome. Still, the Demons went on to win the Southland Conference title and qualified for the Division I-AA national playoffs.

"Our guys have said that Northwestern is the most talented team we played last year," NDSU head coach Craig Bohl said. "I don't think there's any sense in our players that we beat them last year so we can just show up and beat them this year. We know we're playing a formidable opponent."

Especially in Natchitoches, where Turpin Stadium (capacity 15,971) is the big show in town.


"We know they're a different team in their stadium," Bohl said. "We'll have our hands full."

NDSU is coming off a 59-7 season-opening win over Arkansas-Monticello. Bohl said the tape evaluation of the game was a positive experience.

"A lot of good things happened on our team," he said. "But the level of competition this week definitely escalates. It's not just by chance that they beat a I-A team on the road."

On the flip side, Bohl said he doesn't want to downplay his players, who were ranked 22nd in the USA Today/ESPN poll.

"We're embracing the competition," Bohl said. "The coaches are excited about it. This is a fun, fun deal for us."

Bohl said the status of running back Cinque Chapman may be decided today. The sophomore has been sidelined almost three weeks with a strained ligament in his knee.

Chapman participated in some running drills in practice on Saturday.

"He looked a little slow," Bohl said. "He's probably on the back end on what typically would be his injury. We'll see how he does."


Chapman was NDSU's leading rusher against Northwestern last year with 78 yards against a Demon defense that is built to stop the run. Last week, Northwestern shut Monroe out in the second half in much the same manner that NDSU shut out Northwestern in the second half last year.

After opening with a Division II opponent, NDSU will get a good dose of I-AA ball on Saturday.

"The sheer size of this team is much different than the team we played last week," Bohl said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546

Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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