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Jeff Kolpack, Published September 01 2012

Kolpack: Crockett proves he was worth the wait

Fargo - The national championship banner was raised to the Fargodome rafters in an Olympic-style moment Saturday night. Lights off. Spotlight on.

Give the banner a thumbs-up with its throwback style, looking like a big flag hanging from Butler’s historic Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. The two thumbs-up by the North Dakota State football team was provided by running back John Crockett.

It took just one run. On the stat sheet, it will show Crockett scored from 26 yards to give the Bison a 14-0 lead in the second quarter.

The last time I saw a similar touchdown, however, was Thursday afternoon. On my Xbox 360.

Crockett broke tackles. He not only juked a couple of Robert Morris University tacklers out of their shorts, but the numbers on the new Gate City Bank Field turf appeared to move as well.

“I saw a couple of broken tackles and the guy just stayed up,” said RMU safety Cameron Chadwick. “I’m sure a lot of our team thought he would just go down.”

Ok, we get it.

We get why he was so highly recruited out of Totino-Grace High School in the Twin Cities. We get why the Big Ten Conference schools wanted him.

It was NDSU that showed patience, working with him for two years to get him up to snuff academically. And it appears that will pay off handsomely. Crockett finished with 75 yards rushing on seven carries in the Bison’s 52-0 season-opening win over the Colonials before a sold out dome crowd of 18,769.

Most of them probably left hoping a YouTube replay of Crockett’s run was immediately available on their smart phones. It came on a play when RMU had the numbers advantage where Crockett was slated to run. He still got through.

We get it.

“Let the beast run, man, let him run,” said NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen.

That’s the youthful way to describe it. The head coaching way, in this case NDSU’s Craig Bohl, went five deep in descriptive words in talking about the run.

“He showed strength, change of direction, explosion, determination, speed, a lot of good things,” he said.

I’m not sure what else there is.

“Yeah,” Bohl said, “it was a pretty dynamic run. That’s the stuff that breaks your heart as a defensive coach.”

And get this: It was Crockett’s first game since 2009 at Totino-Grace. He’s been asked about being rusty all fall.

He was asked again afterward on Saturday night.

“I had so much adrenalin that if I had rust, I didn’t feel any,” Crockett said. “It was a long time coming.”

It was a long time coming for Bison fans. Many have known about Crockett since NDSU signed him. It’s been a consistent question by fans on the Bison Media blog.

Is Crockett going to play?

The answer was a resounding yes on Saturday.

We get it.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia

Kolpack is the host of the WDAY Golf Show Saturdays from 8-9 a.m. on 970-AM.