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Jeff Kolpack, Published October 15 2012

NDSU football looks to rebound against USD

FARGO – The North Dakota State football coaching staff went to work on Sunday with a different feeling for the first time in 11 months. That was the last time the Bison lost a game before last Saturday.

The 17-14 Indiana State victory over NDSU was last equaled by Youngstown State on Nov. 12 of last season.

“It was difficult, many times you forget those kinds of feelings,” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl. “I know that Sunday morning, and even Saturday night for me personally, was hard if you’re a competitor. I know our players are as well.”

The Bison get their first chance at redemption Saturday night against the University of South Dakota. The Vermillion school is playing the game at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls as a way to tap into that market.

NDSU will take on the Coyotes as the No. 4-ranked team in both The Sports Network and Division I Football Championship Subdivision coaches polls. Eastern Washington took over the top spot in both polls after it defeated previously second-ranked Montana State.

In all, four of the top five teams in the media poll lost last weekend. The Bison’s loss also put the Missouri Valley Football Conference race into a logjam with five teams being either unbeaten or having one loss.

“We have to stay the course and be able to bounce back,” Bohl said. “We can’t get too high or get too low. We have to recognize there is a lot of season left to play and there is not one team we can’t beat and there is not one team that can’t beat us. That’s true for everybody in the Valley.”

Bohl said starting strong safety Bryan Shepherd may be lost for the season with a lacerated kidney suffered in the ISU game. He was still hospitalized on Monday.

Starting wide receiver Zach Vraa suffered a separated shoulder in the second half and his status for the game against the Coyotes is doubtful. Fullback Andrew Grothmann may not play either with a strained knee ligament that kept him out of the Sycamore game.

Bohl also said running back John Crockett is “looking somewhat promising” after dealing with a hip pointer on Saturday.

After starting the season with five straight wins that were all impressive in nature, the Bison stumbled against Indiana State.

“We didn’t play well and it’s important to learn from that,” Bohl said. “We have to keep plugging along.”

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia