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 — The North Dakota State defense didn't get out of Macomb, Ill., on Saturday, Oct. 13, without getting into trouble. The Bison were found guilty without the benefit of a trial of stealing ... the football. NDSU forced five turnovers in the 34-7 victory at Western Illinois, bringing its turnover margin to plus-10 on the season. That ranks tied for second in NCAA Division I FCS with 14 forced turnovers by the NDSU defense and four turnovers by the offense.
FARGO—Two of North Dakota State's marquee players who left Saturday's game at Western Illinois may return to practice this week. Running back Bruce Anderson and safety Robbie Grimsley sustained lower leg injuries, head coach Chris Klieman confirmed Sunday, Oct. 14. Anderson was injured in the second quarter after a 16-yard run that helped set up a Bison touchdown. Grimsley left late in the game.
MACOMB, Ill.—Trying to decipher Division I FCS football on a Saturday-by-Saturday basis is like trying to figure out why the folks in this area of Illinois have little interest in watching the home team. It's difficult. Western Illinois University has been pretty good over the years, very good last season, yet the fans don't seem to care. The students were on break Saturday night, Oct. 13, when North Dakota State came to town. We'll give a partial pass for that.
FARGO — About the only thing missing in Saturday, Oct. 13's North Dakota State at Western Illinois Missouri Valley Football Conference game will be a natural grass field. One that can create mud on a rainy day. That would add emphasis to an already old-school football feeling Bison defensive tackle Aaron Steidl has heading into it. NDSU's first outdoor game of the season will be played on the artificial turf at Hanson Field in Macomb, Ill.
FARGO — Bored from going to school, and having nothing else to do other than attend class his first semester at North Dakota State, Ross Effertz decided to join a student group. The Bison football team. That feeling of laziness instantly went away. Almost three years later, the senior cornerback is banging away at practice not caring if he sees the field on Saturdays. "But you're here with the guys who have become some of the best friends I'll ever have, so it's all been worth it," Effertz said.
FARGO—The University of North Dakota continued its upper hand over North Dakota State in their Division I volleyball series. The Fighting Hawks were the better team down the stretch in three of four sets and the result was their fifth straight win over the Bison and eighth in 10 matches. Kayla Williams and Jordan Vail had 17 and 13 kills respectively to pace a 25-22, 25-22, 12-25, 25-16 Summit League victory at Bentson Bunker Fieldhouse Friday night. "We played clean at the end when we had to," said UND head coach Mark Pryor.
FARGO — Western Illinois head football coach Jared Elliott was born in 1986. That happens to be about the time most head coaches in the Missouri Valley Football Conference got their start at the collegiate level. Elliott, in his first year leading the Leathernecks, is a young guy in a veteran man's game. He'll face another tenured coach when Chris Klieman and North Dakota State visit Hanson Field in Macomb, Ill., for a 6 p.m. Saturday kickoff.
FARGO — For the third straight game, North Dakota State will face a senior quarterback who is on his third year as a starter. The challenge at Western Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 13, will be to control record-setter Sean McGuire. The 6-foot-3, 228-pound McGuire set school records in passing touchdowns and passing yards in a loss at Illinois State last week. The previous marks were 30 years old.
FARGO — The first three seasons for North Dakota State wide receiver Darrius Shepherd produced 40, 45 and 41 receptions. Pretty hard to get more consistent than that. He and quarterback Easton Stick have been on the same page their entire careers, but now they're taking it to the fine-print level. The connection has been like glue with the 5-0 Bison heading to Western Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 13, for a Missouri Valley Football Conference game.
FARGO—The South Dakota State game was for the Dakota Marker. Last Saturday, North Dakota State put that rivalry behind it and attacked another one in Northern Iowa. After a slow start, the Bison rolled to a 56-31 win to keep their unbeaten and No. 1-ranked season in high gear. SDSU and UNI were two emotionally-charged games that have the Bison 2-0 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and 5-0 overall.