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Jeff Kolpack, Published November 26 2010

Kolpack: Doug Hushka hopes his Bison-football-playing kids seize the moment

Doug Hushka was among a group of North Dakota State football parents who weren’t very talkative on their way home from Springfield, Mo. NDSU was just blanked at Missouri State last Saturday, and the prospect of a playoff berth looked as promising as Brett Favre’s marriage.

The downer for Doug and Renelda Hushka was that one of their two NDSU-playing sons, fullback Drew Hushka, is a senior. This year was the last chance for him to do something that his father did at NDSU: play in a postseason game.

“NDSU was all about playoff football,” Drew said. “It’s been too long since the last playoff game and way too long since the last home playoff game.”

As a kid much smaller than his current 6-foot, 246-pound frame, Drew remembers watching old VHS tapes of NDSU’s playoff days of the early 1980s. Doug was a defensive back on the 1983 Division II national championship team.

They were national runners-up in 1981 and lost in the semifinals in 1982.

But Sunday morning, at just a little after 9 a.m., brothers Drew and Logan Hushka joined their father in playoff football. It was announced that NDSU will host Robert Morris University (Pa.) on Saturday night at the Fargodome.

At 7-4, the Bison were the last team selected.

“For me, I’m excited for them,” Doug said. “It’s great to see them have that opportunity that I experienced.”

Drew is a backup fullback and Logan is a backup linebacker. Both see most of their time on special teams.

What they’ll experience on Saturday, Doug said, is a different feel from a regular-season game. Everybody is 0-0 and chasing the big prize.

“Everything changes dramatically when you get to postseason,” Doug said. “I tell them to enjoy it. Drew is a senior and won’t get back. For Logan, there is no guarantee down the road. You think you have a good team coming up, but anything can happen.”

For Drew, it’s been five years of grinding away since walking on out of Fargo Shanley High School. By his third year, he was seeing the field on special teams.

He started three games last year and caught five passes for 42 yards.

On Saturday, every pass, every yard will mean something. The older the player is in college, Doug said, the more he realizes that.

“Every play takes on more importance,” he said. “Each game is more important. I never knew if I would get back there. It just changes the game and how you play it.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the Saturday Morning Sports Show, 9-11 a.m. on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia