Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at www.bisonmedia.areavoices.com. On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.
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FARGO—It was a two-hour layover in Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on Monday morning, Jan. 15, two more hours for Tom Hoge to perhaps contemplate what could have been and what actually happened. That's the thing about the PGA Tour — if you don't win the tournament, there is always something. What the Fargo South High School graduate can take away is his highest career finish, a third-place showing at the Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii. It has him on the doorstep of threatening to reach the next level in PGA Tour status.
FARGO—It was a time out that was more about attitude than strategy. North Dakota State men's basketball coach Dave Richman had seen enough when a lazy offensive rebound turned into an Oral Roberts 3-point field goal. Richman's face turned a few shades of red in a 30-second rant that had his players paying attention. "He was getting after us a bit," said guard A.J. Jacobson. "We were giving up some offensive rebounds and we lost a little focus there."
FARGO—The Summit League reached No. 12 last week in conference RPI, the power ranking system that determines the strongest leagues of the 32 in Division I men's basketball. It represented the biggest gain from any conference from a year ago with an improvement of eight spots. There have been some notable wins, like Fort Wayne defeating Indiana for the second straight year, although a win over the Hoosiers isn't as big as it used to be. South Dakota State beat Iowa and Mississippi; and Oral Roberts and North Dakota State both defeated Missouri State.
FARGO—The home court has not been so homey for the North Dakota State men's basketball team. This one was like walking outside of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex on Thursday night, Jan. 11, with a T-shirt on. It was about 10 below with a decent wind chill factor for the weather record. That was also about the coldness factor of the Bison shooters. One of the country's top 3-point shooting teams coming in, NDSU was nowhere near that kind of accuracy and the University of Denver took advantage in taking a 67-61 victory in front of 2,543 fans.
FARGO—The future is looking more and more like medical school for North Dakota State junior center Spencer Eliason, who spent part of this week interviewing for a post-graduate option. If getting through a medical curriculum requires grit, patience and perseverance, then Eliason can already put that on his resume. His first two to three years with the Bison basketball team was nothing but a challenge. "There were quite a few low points," Eliason said.
FRISCO, Texas—About the best title trophy of significance for North Dakota State offensive coordinator Courtney Messingham is a baseball from Little League baseball in eighth grade. It was the sport that he and Chris Klieman played together growing up in Waterloo, Iowa, with Klieman eventually being the Bison assistant and head football coach.
FRISCO, Texas — It's been four years since Craig Bohl left Frisco in a celebratory mood, coaching North Dakota State to its third straight Division I FCS national title. His legacy wasn't forgotten on Saturday, Jan. 6.
FRISCO, Texas—As each day came and went throughout the FCS playoffs, North Dakota State running back Lance Dunn increasingly became optimistic his season wasn't over after all. A labrum injury suffered in mid-October against Western Illinois had all but disappeared by the time the Bison returned from a brief Christmas break and Dunn was in the lineup Saturday, Jan. 6, in the 17-13 win over James Madison that gave the Bison their sixth FCS title in seven years.
FRISCO, Texas—The green and yellow confetti was beginning to thin out when Tre Dempsey met Marcus Williams behind the victory stage of Toyota Stadium. They gave each other the football player bear hug, and in a sense it represented a passing of the dynasty torch. North Dakota State calls its defense "Code Green" and the code was dialed in all afternoon against James Madison. Just like it was dialed in when Williams was the cornerback during the start of the six straight FCS national titles.
FRISCO, Texas—It was Friday, Jan. 5, and there were four teams still playing college football. Two of them, Georgia and Alabama, are playing for the FBS national championship next Monday in Atlanta. The other two are in Frisco. North Dakota State and James Madison will kick it off at 11 a.m. Saturday morning to decide the Division I FCS championship. Both head coaches on Friday said the FCS is the right level for their respective programs.