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Jeff Kolpack, Published September 08 2012

Kolpack: Bison wins against FBS teams have ho-hum feel

Fort Collins, Colo. - The final gun sounded and the players from North Dakota State shook hands with the players from Colorado State. The Bison took a direct turn south and headed to their locker room.

Just like that. Gone. There was no parading around the Metrodome or TCF Bank Stadium. There was no holding court at Central Michigan. There was no ice bath on the head coach at Ball State.

These FBS wins are becoming, well, like normal wins.

NDSU spotted CSU an early touchdown and then proceeded to blow the Rams away like they were Minnesota-Crookston. In winning 22-7 at Hughes Field, NDSU was better on offense, defense and special teams.

“We go about our business,” said NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen. “We felt from the start that they were a beatable team.”

NDSU is now 6-3 against Football Bowl Subdivision teams. The Bison are a short missed field goal from being 7-2.

It defies the laws of recruiting, where in theory the best 85 guys on scholarship for CSU should be better than the 63 scholarships at NDSU. What is it about Colorado State and Colorado that is not good enough to beat FCS teams?

Division I football fans along the front range must be wondering that this morning when reading the several morning newspapers that cover these teams. NDSU, the defending FCS champ, beating a CSU team under a first year coach is one thing.

But 45 miles south, Sacramento State defeated CU in Boulder. Sac State was picked to finish ninth in the Big Sky Conference while the Buffaloes joined the Pac-12 Conference.

“They probably feel about as well as I do,” said CSU head coach Jim McElwain. “I don’t think it’s a setback. I look at where our program is. It’s learning.”

Translation: McElwain is taking over a program that has a long way to go. He knows it. He was calm and realistic in his postgame news conference, chuckling at times. A former offensive coordinator at Alabama, he hasn’t seen too many losses in recent years.

“We have our work cut out for us,” he said.

The Bison faithful that numbered in the thousands, meanwhile, were heard all game and after. No word if they drank Fort Collins out of beer like they did Frisco, Texas.

Seems odd that a major college program woke up today taking lessons from an FCS team.

“What you learn tells you who you are,” McElwain said. “Those are lessons. Those are lessons.”

At least front-range fans have Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos to cheer for. It may be awhile before the state’s major schools get up to speed.

NDSU is cooking. This was not an upset, and the funny part is nobody would argue that.

“This didn’t happen by chance,” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl.

Been there, done that, did it again. Jensen was probably the only player who raised his helmet to the postgame crowd.

“They made a difference,” he said. “They really did.”

There are now seven FCS wins against FBS teams this season. There were several more near misses.

It was business as usual for NDSU on Saturday.


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.