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Missouri Valley suspends Paschall for one-game following altercation against Northern Iowa

North Dakota State is on a football losing streak these days. The Bison have lost three straight games, lost their best player to a one-game suspension and lost a plea to lessen the disciplinary action.

Pat Paschall
North Dakota State's Pat Paschall (2) is among the rushing leaders in the Football Championship Subdivision. David Samson / The Forum
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North Dakota State is on a football losing streak these days. The Bison have lost three straight games, lost their best player to a one-game suspension and lost a plea to lessen the disciplinary action.

The Missouri Valley Football Conference on Tuesday suspended running back Pat Paschall for one game after a sideline altercation in Saturday's game against Northern Iowa.

The action was met with disappointment from NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor, who said he didn't agree with the one-game ruling.

The incident escalated after Northern Iowa linebacker L.J. Fort was flagged for a personal foul and appeared to ride Paschall all the way to the Fargodome sideline wall in the fourth quarter of UNI's 42-27 win. A horde of players quickly surrounded the two and a skirmish broke out.

NDSU isn't denying that Paschall swung his arm at Fort, Taylor said.

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"I thought the action by the Northern Iowa player went beyond the personal foul in terms of running him into the wall and holding him there, and I think that precipitated Pat's frustration," Taylor said.

Paschall was not made available for comment on Tuesday.

His absence means sophomore D.J. McNorton will start at tailback Saturday at South Dakota State. Freshman Sam Ojuri will back up McNorton.

"Disappointed," said head coach Craig Bohl, "but as coaches, we are governed by rules. We don't make the rules and when a judgment is made, we move forward and get ready to play South Dakota State."

Paschall is having an All-American-type season. He was the leading rusher in Division I Football Championship Subdivision until last week and is averaging 144.8 yards.

Taylor said a more appropriate action would have been a half-game suspension. He said if Paschall was ejected by the officials, he would by league rules have missed the last four minutes of the game and the first half of the following game.

The conference said in a release the ruling was made in consultation with NCAA national coordinator Dave Parry, secretary-rules editor Rogers Redding and MVFC coordinator of officials Bill Carollo. The league said by NCAA rules a one-game suspension is "appropriate."

No action was taken on Fort. Taylor said both Northern Iowa head coach Mark Farley and UNI athletic director Troy Dannen said Paschall should not have been suspended. Taylor used the UNI stance to the MVFC officials in his defense of Paschall.

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"But they said they couldn't take that into account because it was our player," Taylor said. "They looked at being consistent across the country, and I disagree with it. I flat-out disagree with it.

Meanwhile, backup running back Matt Voigtlander remains questionable for the Jackrabbits game with a knee injury. The status of tight end Matt Veldman (knee) is uncertain while two players who missed the UNI game - tackle Gerry Ebel (knee) and cornerback Derrius Colvin (strained arch) - are probable.

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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