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Bizal hopes his job is a big bust

Tony Bizal is a backup safety at North Dakota State whose No. 1 job is anything but safe. He's the wedgebuster on kickoff coverage teams, a job that isn't for the meek. Blockers usually include linebackers and linemen. "Guys who are trying to wre...

Tony Bizal is a backup safety at North Dakota State whose No. 1 job is anything but safe.

He's the wedgebuster on kickoff coverage teams, a job that isn't for the meek. Blockers usually include linebackers and linemen.

"Guys who are trying to wreck little guys like myself," Bizal said.

Bizal is part of a unit that has made noticeable improvement in the last few games. Take away an offsides call on the kickoff, and South Dakota State's average starting point was its own 17-yard line.

The improvement of Bizal is one reason. He's made the coaches take notice, something he hasn't done yet as a safety.

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"I've been a little deeper on the depth chart," he said. "Right now, this is a chance to make the biggest impact on the team, something to make a name for myself."

Bizal is also on the punt and kickoff return teams. But the kickoff coverage team makes for somewhat of a sacrificial body mindset.

"You try to make a play but you're No. 1 goal is to blow up the wedge," he said.

Southern Utah will bring a non-traditional offense to the Fargodome. The Thunderbirds have gone long stretches in games without a running back in the backfield.

At other times, they've had two running backs behind quarterback Casey Rehrer. He also is a frequent user of the shotgun.

It's a good bet Bison quarterback Tony Stauss will leave the Fargodome today on top of the NDSU passing world.

He needs just three completions to become the school's all-time leader in completions. He has 302 in just less than two seasons after transferring from Northwestern University. Kevin Feeney completed 304 passes from 1995-98.

Junior receiver Travis White is also climbing the charts. He has 104 career catches, which is well on pace to break T.R. McDonald's record of 134 set from 1990-93.

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E Southern Utah is at about 40 scholarships, said head coach Wes Meier. Like NDSU, the school is looking at membership in the Big Sky Conference. "It will be interesting to see how all of that falls out," Meier said.

- NDSU is 45-35-3 in homecoming games, but has won five straight and 10 of the last 11.

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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