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Hew Len left sun for Utah

CEDAR CITY, Utah - As nice as the weather and beaches of Hawaii are, Joey Hew Len was looking for another school. The University of Hawaii wasn't for him. Problem was, nobody was returning his phone calls or e-mails. "And I tried a lot of schools...

CEDAR CITY, Utah - As nice as the weather and beaches of Hawaii are, Joey Hew Len was looking for another school. The University of Hawaii

wasn't for him.

Problem was, nobody was returning his phone calls or e-mails.

"And I tried a lot of schools," Hew Len said.

So one day, while lifting weights at the University of Hawaii, Hew Len was talking to a Rainbows baseball player whom Hew Len once met at a church function. The player gave Hew Len Wes Meier's coaching card.

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So Hew Len called the Southern Utah coach, and that's the biggest reason one of the Great West Football Conference's top receivers will line up against North Dakota State today.

"It was pure luck I got coach Meier's card," Hew Len said.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound receiver has used his size to his advantage with 36 receptions for 405 yards and eight touchdowns. He's fourth in the conference in receptions per game behind NDSU's Kole Heckendorf and the California Davis tandem of Chris Carter and Tony Kays.

Hew Len, a senior has been quarterback Wes Marshall's No. 1 target the last two seasons.

"It's a small town, I like it here," Hew Len said. "We have a lot of good guys on this team and the experience has been good."

Bison players put Gopher game to rest

NDSU spent the day after the 10-9 loss to the University of Minnesota and parts of the beginning of this week putting that game behind them. Coaches and players were answering questions about the game as late as Tuesday.

"That game had no bearing on whether we win a conference title," said NDSU linebacker Mike Maresh. "We would have loved to go into this game undefeated, but we're not. This will show a lot on how we deal with a loss."

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Said running back Kyle Steffes: "When you start preparing and scheming for the next team, you forget about it right away."

Steffes said NDSU's mature attitude this season will help overcome the emotional game at the Metrodome.

"We don't have as many valleys and peaks," he said. "We're just on an up slope and we hope that plays out this week."

Dahl a semifinalist for 'academic Heisman'

Bison strong safety Craig Dahl was named one of the 37 semifinalists for the 2006 Draddy Trophy. Dubbed the "academic Heisman," it recognizes football players in divisions I, II and II and NAIA for academic success, football performance and community leadership.

Dahl, who carries a 3.58 grade point average in mechanical engineering, leads the Bison with 41 tackles. He is one solo tackle from tying NDSU's career record of 123 set by Jared Essler from 2000-04.

The award, selected by the National Football Foundation and College Football Hall of Fame, will be reduced to 15 finalists. The winner will be announced on Dec. 5.

Around the Great West Conference

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- Today is the conference opener for NDSU, whose last four games are league contests. Southern Utah is 0-2 and, although not mathematically eliminated, is for the most part playing a spoiler role.

- Cal Davis dominated the Thunderbirds in the first half in the Aggies' 27-7 win last week. Davis ran 47 offensive plays to Southern Utah's 18 in the first two quarters. "Our defense was well rested," said Davis head coach Bob Biggs. "That helped our cause on a warm day."

- Cal Poly head coach Rich Ellerson on South Dakota State's dramatic come-from-behind 29-28 win over his Mustangs: "We spent way too much time as a staff (Sunday) beating ourselves up over it. The facts are, we were doing the same things the first 50 minutes as we did the last 10. It was extraordinary play on their part."

Etc. etc. etc.

- The Thunderbirds have blocked seven kicks this season: four punts, two extra points and one field goal. Senior Brian Kofoed blocked two punts in one game against Western State (Colo.).

- Meier, in his third season as the SUU head coach, is 10-19.

- If NDSU counted in the Division I-AA statistics (it doesn't because of the reclassification), John Majeski would be 17th in kickoff returns (25.8 yards per return), Travis White would be 18th in punt returns (12.9 yards) and Brian Dahl would be 21st in quarterback sacks (seven).

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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