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Jeff Kolpack, Published September 19 2009

Bison game day notebook: Wagner not used to huge crowds

Wagner College played in front of an average of 1,858 fans in 11 games last year. The trip to Fargo this weekend will be an out-of-element experience for the Seahawks in more ways than playing in a domed stadium for the first time in school history.

Over 18,000 are expected for North Dakota State’s home opener.

“I’ve been all over the world. I’ve never been to Fargo,” said Wagner head coach Walt Hameline. “It’s one of those scenarios where you only have so many days on this earth so why not take a shot. I think our kids are excited. It’s a good thing for us anytime you go somewhere different.”

Playing a game away from the East Coast is something Wagner has done from time to time in recent years. It played at Jacksonville University (Fla.) in 2002 and 2007 and at the University of San Diego four times starting in 1997.

The game came about when both teams were left searching for a game. Wagner was scheduled to play Delaware State, but the Hornets dropped the Seahawks in favor of playing the University of Delaware, said Hameline. “It was one of those things where, at the last second, we needed a game.”

The road trip is a contrast from last week’s game at State University New York-Maritime. Wagner had to bus 31 miles to that one. It is chartering a plane to Fargo.

NDSU’s Richard earns MVFC weekly honor

NDSU center Austin Richard was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Offensive Lineman of the Week for his performance against Sam Houston State.

The Bison sophomore graded out at 98 percent and had eight knockdowns in film evaluation by NDSU. Running back Pat Paschall had 176 yards rushing and leads Division I Football Championship Subdivision in rushing at 161.0 yards per game.

Bison defense struggling on first series of the game

For the third straight game, NDSU will face a team that runs the spread offense and so far, the Bison haven’t fared too well against it in losses at Iowa State and Sam Houston State.

And it has started on the first drive.

Iowa State went 81 yards in nine plays in just 3 minutes, 10 seconds the first time it had the ball. Sam Houston went 73 yards in eight plays in less than four minutes to start the game last week.

“Defensively, we have to play more consistent and play fast, especially coming out of the blocks, and that’s something we haven’t done the last two games,” said defensive coordinator Mike Breske.

Etc. etc. etc.

The teams had one common opponent last year. The Bison defeated Central Connecticut State 50-14 in the second game of the year at the Fargodome. Central Connecticut beat Wagner 38-10 at home about a month later. … The NDSU ticket office had between 500 and 600 tickets remaining as of late Friday afternoon. The Fargodome ticket office opens at 1 p.m. today. … NDSU was sixth last year in FCS attendance with an average of 18,032 in six games. ... In addition to his head coaching duties, Hameline is also the school’s athletic director. “There’s not many of us left,” he said of the dual role. “It’s just one of those things. I’ve been fortunate I’ve been able to wrap good people around me. They do most of the A.D. stuff.” … Wagner’s Northeast Conference will get an automatic bid to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs when the field expands next year to 20 teams. ... Bison punter John Prelvitz is off to a good start. His 44.3-yard average ranks seventh in FCS while NDSU ranks third in net punting at 42.3 yards. Prelvitz has a career-best 56-yard punt and has landed three punts inside the 20-yard line. ... NDSU is 29-5 in the Fargodome under head coach Craig Bohl, with two of the losses coming last season. Overall, the Bison are

78-16 since moving inside from Dacotah Field in 1993.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack at (701) 241-5546