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Jeff Kolpack, Published September 29 2012

UNI-Dome will provide a loud challenge for the top-ranked Bison

FARGO – It’s been common for the North Dakota State defense to practice with crowd noise amplified over the Fargodome speakers. The roles got switched this week.

This time, it was the offense that worked on situations where they couldn’t hear one another. That’s the expectation tonight at the UNI-Dome when the Bison play at Northern Iowa.

No longer can Bison quarterback Brock Jensen signal to the crowd to lower their pitch when his team is on offense.

“If I tried to do that at the UNI-Dome, I’m sure they would try and get louder and louder,” Jensen said. “It will be a good chance to get out there and deal with a little adversity. The game will not be perfect but we’re excited to get out there and play hard.”

Close to a sellout of the arena’s capacity of 16,324 fans are expected in UNI’s Missouri Valley Football Conference home opener. It’s the first league game for the Bison.

“Anytime you go on the road, all kinds of different things make it challenging,” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl. “Crowd noise is a factor. It’s a great stadium with great fan support.”

NDSU has won seven straight on the road and not once has home crowd noise been an overriding factor. NDSU took first half leads at Minnesota and South Dakota State to gain some control in addition to the Bison having thousands of fans follow them to those destinations. Southern Illinois, Indiana State and Western Illinois didn’t have full stadiums.

The Division I Football Championship Subdivision title game in Frisco, Texas, had a decisive Bison edge in number of fans. NDSU had around 5,000 fans at Colorado State three weeks ago.

“That was almost like a home game with as many fans as we had,” Bohl said.

That won’t be the case tonight.

“It’s a loud, hostile environment,” said NDSU center Joe Lund. “The UNI-Dome packs it in but I think the atmosphere with the Fargodome will help. We practice with noise, too, but nothing can emulate the full-crowd noise at UNI.”

Bison defensive coach returns to alma mater

NDSU defensive coordinator Chris Klieman came from Northern Iowa two years ago, so the comparisons of playing his old school are old news now. But going back home isn’t.

He’ll have plenty of family and friends including his parents and brother at the UNI-Dome tonight when the Bison play the Panthers. It will be his first trip back to his alma mater since he took the Bison job.

“It will be a strange feeling until that whistle blows,” Klieman said. “Then it’s time to play.”

Klieman is a 1990 UNI graduate and spent nine years there as an assistant coach in two different stints.

Timing was right for UNI

in recruiting Kollmorgen

It was apparent at the end of last season that backup Jared Lanpher would be the heir apparent at quarterback for Northern Iowa. But redshirt freshman Sawyer Kollmorgen emerged from fall camp as the No. 1 guy.

Kollmorgen comes from Jenks, Okla., and is the only player from that state on the Panthers’ roster. That doesn’t mean UNI doesn’t recruit Oklahoma, said head coach Mark Farley.

“We’ve been to Oklahoma quite a bit,” he said, “but we’ve been selective in what we end up choosing out of there. We’re fortunate the timing was right.”

The timing in this case, Farley said, was Kollmorgen ended up being the No. 2 recruiting choice of a number of schools. Most Division I programs sign one quarterback per year.

“He ended up still being available,” Farley said. “We lost a couple of quarterbacks in recruiting so we both met up at the same time with the same needs.”

Etc. etc. etc.

Bohl will participate in the Coach to Cure MD campaign by wearing patches on their coaching shirt sleeves to help raise awareness of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. … The game will be televised on the North Dakota NBC Network, but will be produced by a Cedar Falls-Waterloo station crew with Jeff Mickey at the play-by-play, Rick Coleman with commentary and Eric Braley with sideline reports. … Zach Vraa’s 69-yard touchdown reception last week against Prairie View A&M was NDSU’s longest since Nick Mertens hit Gary Williams for a school-record

95-yarder against Illinois State in 2009. ... Jensen needs 21 passing attempts to pass Tony Stauss for No. 2 on the NDSU all-time list. Stauss had 345 attempts in


Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia