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Jeff Kolpack, Published October 05 2012

Youngstown looks at home in Fargodome

Fargo - The penguin is a unique bird that survives in the most extreme conditions, whether it be in the middle of an Antarctic winter or the middle of a domed football stadium. The 17 species in the southern hemisphere waddle.

The one species in the northern hemisphere is fast and powerful – inside the Fargodome anyway. Today, the Youngstown State Penguins can do something only one other team has done: Win three straight games at Gate City Bank Field against North Dakota State.

The University of North Dakota turned the trick in 1994, 1996 and 1998.

“Not many people beat us in the Fargodome,” said Bison defensive end Cole Jirik. “Just protecting our home field is a big thing this week.”

But don’t expect the NDSU coaches to pound the last two losses into their players until their heads hurt. Revenge just doesn’t make for a No. 1 motivational factor.

“No, not at all,” said Indiana State head coach Trent Miles. “We might talk about what’s happened or bring it to their attention; we’re crazy if we don’t make sure they’re informed on everything. If you’re focused on revenge, you’re not focused on execution. We want to concentrate on our job and not worry about what’s happened in the past.”

Indiana State would know. The Sycamores have broken more losing streaks in the last two years than anybody else in the country.

They could have sounded the revenge alarm almost on a weekly basis. It appears that’s something that NDSU head coach Craig Bohl was unwilling to do this week, either.

“Memories can serve you well or be damaging too,” he said. “We certainly need to play the game with confidence. Youngstown beat us fair and square. It wasn’t a fluke. It’s mindful for our players to recognize that this is a really good football team and we’ll certainly make note of the fact that our only loss was to these guys last year, so they’re capable of beating us.”

Bohl said he would “briefly” address the previous two home losses with his team, but he said preparation during the week is what’s most important. Plus, most players remember it anyway and there’s not much of a need to bring it up again, he said.

The Penguins rallied from 11 down on two different occasions last year to win 27-24. It was NDSU’s first loss after a 9-0 start and proved to be the only loss all season.

In 2009, a 5-yard touchdown pass with 22 seconds left lifted Youngstown to a 39-35 win that put the capper on NDSU’s 3-8 season. Like last year, YSU rallied from an 11-point deficit.

“We had some good fortune in that game,” Youngstown head coach Eric Wolford said of last year. “Some things fell our way, we kept working hard and we came out with a win.”

Like Bohl and Miles, Wolford said he doesn’t put a lot of stock in previous year’s games.

“Every year is a new year,” he said. “We’re a much different team than we were last year and I think they’re a different team than they were last year. The previous year really has no bearing on this year’s outcome.”

All four meetings between these teams since they renewed their series in 2008 have been decided by eight points or less.

“It’s the next game and that’s how we do our business,” said NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen. “But everybody does remember last year and what happened. They came into the dome and stole one from us, and we’re going to do everything in our power not to let that happen again.”

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