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LB Itterman makes most of opportunity: Jackrabbits quarterback knocked out in first half

It was worth the wait for Brett Itterman. The North Dakota State junior linebacker made the most significant contribution of his Bison career in NDSU's 41-17 win over South Dakota State on Saturday.

It was worth the wait for Brett Itterman. The North Dakota State junior linebacker made the most significant contribution of his Bison career in NDSU's 41-17 win over South Dakota State on Saturday.

Itterman had 10 tackles coming into the game. He came within one of matching that in one game and led the Bison in tackles.

His night included three stops for lost yardage and one interception.

"I went out there and made plays when I got the chance," Itterman said.

He got the chance when senior linebacker Kole Zimmerman went down in the first half with a probable knee ligament injury.

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"A guy going down is never the way you want to get into a game," Itterman said. "Kole's a big leader and it's hard to fill that void."

But he did fill it.

"Up until now, he has not shown that ability," said Bison head coach Craig Bohl.

It was a rough night for South Dakota State quarterback Andy Kardoes. The junior was just 2 of 7 passing with one touchdown and two interceptions. He left for the locker room, on crutches, with an apparent knee injury midway through the second quarter.

"He's done for the year," said SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier. "I don't know how it happened. I didn't even know he was gone."

Kardoes lofted a perfect pass to Chris Molitor for a 41-yard touchdown bomb in the first quarter. But he also threw two interceptions, both by free safety Nick Schommer and both of which NDSU turned into touchdowns.

Schommer's second pick was a high, overthrown ball that he waited for like a center fielder. Seven plays later, Kyle Steffes scored from the 3 and the Bison had their first lead at 21-14.

"The quarterback was looking at the middle of the field, I saw him clutch and I moved that way," Schommer said.

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The last Bison to get two picks in a game was linebacker Joe Mays, against Northwestern State (La.) in the second game of the year.

NDSU receiver Marques Johnson did not play after re-aggravating a pulled groin muscle. It was the first time this year a Bison starter did not suit up for a game. Johnson played just a few plays two weeks ago against Southern Utah with the same injury. ... Steve Walker's 63-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Cooper in the fourth quarter was NDSU's longest gain of the season. It was a play-action pass that found Cooper wide open on the right side of the Jack secondary. ... SDSU failed to have an 100-yard rusher for the first time since playing at the University of Montana and only the second time all season. ... SDSU running back Anthony Watson, who had 133 yards against the Bison last year, played just a few snaps because of a pulled hamstring suffered Tuesday in practice.

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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