Washington adds depth to backfield

Three's becoming a crowd in the North Dakota State backfield thanks to Shamen Washington. The sophomore running back is giving his Bison coaches something to think about.

Three's becoming a crowd in the North Dakota State backfield thanks to Shamen Washington. The sophomore running back is giving his Bison coaches something to think about.

The sophomore third string tailback, who was coming off an effective performance in NDSU's intrasquad scrimmage last week, rushed for 57 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries in NDSU's 59-7 victory over Arkansas-Monticello Thursday night.

Washington took advantage of the absence of backup Cinque Chapman, who was out with a sprained knee.

"We feel like he does some good things," said Bison head coach Craig Bohl. "It was great to give Shamen some work. He does a nice job in practice."

Starter Kyle Steffes had 114 yards before taking a permanent seat midway in the second quarter. Moreover, running back Mark Moore - fourth on the depth chart - was effective in the fourth quarter with 36 yards rushing on five carries and fifth-string back Symeon Cabell had 54 yards on four tries.


"We need all those guys," Bohl said. "We have some depth and we're going to utilize it."

Buckling down on Williams

Monticello running back John L. Williams had 91 yards in his team's loss last week and was well on his way to beating that in the first half. He had 50 yards in the first quarter before the Bison defense buckled down, holding him to 6 yards in the second quarter.

"We weren't exactly where we need to be," Bison linebacker Kole Zimmerman said of the first quarter. "We'll watch film and get that fixed up for next week."

The final punch in the first half was delivered by Bison noseguard Rodney Thompson. He stopped Williams for a 3-yard loss on fourth-and-1 near midfield. The Bison offense needed just three plays to cover 47 yards and a 28-0 lead midway in the second quarter.

"A couple times he popped out there for more yards than what you would like," Bohl said. "But we made some nice adjustments."

Williams, with a strong fourth quarter against Bison reserves, finished with 100 yards on 28 carries.

Williams is the son of former NFL running back John L. Williams, who spent 10 years in the league with Seattle and Pittsburgh. He rushed for 5,006 yards and had 4,656 yards receiving.


Etc. etc. etc.

The Bison reported no injuries after the game. ... Quarterback Steve Walker tied a career high with three touchdown passes, all in the first half. He had three in the final game last year at California Davis. ... Kole Zimmerman's interception return for a touchdown was a first for a Bison defender since Matt Gorman returned one 93 yards against Concordia-St. Paul in 2003. ... Senior Bobby Babich's interception in the first quarter was the third of his career. ... Senior tight end Derek Arndt scored his first career touchdown on a 2-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. ... Monticello All-American receiver Von Mixon was held to just one catch for a minus-3 yards. "We had some things in the game plan to help negate him," Bohl said. "The secondary did a nice job." ... After narrowly missing blocking two punts in the first half, the Bison broke through in the fourth quarter when Ryan Olson blocked a40-yard Monticello field goal attempt. ... It was NDSU's seventh straight opening-game victory.

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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