Jeff Kolpack, Published November 02 2012
Wildcat adds new wrinkle to Bison playbookFARGO – Tim Tebow and Ronnie Brown can probably rest easy. Derrick Lang isn’t going to take their spot as one of the all-time best Wildcat quarterbacks anytime soon.
The North Dakota State sophomore lined up in that formation last week against Southern Illinois, a play that resulted in a 50-yard completion from Brock Jensen to Andrew Okland that was a key moment in the 23-17 Bison win.
Lang’s job on the play was to hand off to receiver Trevor Gebhart, but there could be more where that came from. Bison head coach Craig Bohl said there are plays with Lang as a Wildcat quarterback.
“He possesses a lot of ability and he throws the ball well,” Bohl said. “A lot of people don’t know that.”
Lang discounted that notion, saying, “I don’t know if a good arm is the way to describe it. I haven’t practiced anything where I’ve thrown it.”
Nonetheless, it’s in the playbook. NDSU used a similar formation with D.J. McNorton last year against Indiana State and it remains to be seen if the Bison will use it today at Missouri State.
Lang, meanwhile, has continued his steady play this season, He’s averaging 4.5 yards a carry and has rebounded from a cartilage tear in his ribs suffered in the second game of the year at Colorado State. It sidelined him for two games and slowed him for a couple of more.
“It was the most painful thing that I have ever been a part of in football,” he said.
Crockett continues to battle through injury
Sophomore John Crockett, another Bison running back who is also rebounding from an injury, says he is not 100 percent recovered from a hip pointer but is good enough to play today.
“It’s something you have to go through in the Valley,” said Crockett, of injuries in a physical Missouri Valley Football Conference. “There are a lot of big boys out there.”
Crockett looked to be his usual self last week and continues to lead the Bison in rushing with 598 yards and an average of 5.1 yards a carry. Seeing his first action since high school, he admits the physical nature of the game has taken awhile to get used to.
“I didn’t know it would be like this but at the end of the day, it’s football,” he said. “Guys are trying to hit you.”
‘Senior Day’ an added incentive for Bears
It’s the last home game of the season for Missouri State and that annually brings an added incentive to the Bears with Senior Day, which honors the departing MSU players. It was an obvious source of emotion for the Bears two years ago in their 3-0 upset over NDSU at Plaster Field.
“It’s the final home game and North Dakota State, what more can you ask for?” said MSU head coach Terry Allen. “You have the No. 1 (TSN poll) team in the country coming to your place.”
Adding fuel to MSU’s fire: it’s on a three-game winning streak, the longest in the conference since 2001.
“They’ve been on top but we feel like we’re a good team, too,” senior linebacker Rodney Kelly told the Springfield News-Leader newspaper. “We feel like we can play with anybody on the schedule.”
The Bears, Allen says, have a “quirky” schedule with their bye coming next week. They’re at Northern Iowa to end the season on Nov. 17.
“That’s not great but we’ll live through it,” Allen said.
Etc. etc. etc.
NDSU leads Division I Football Championship Subdivision in time of possession averaging 35 minutes, 44 seconds a game. On average, the Bison have had the ball for 18:47 out of 30 minutes in the second half including 9:31 of the third quarter. … Trevor Wooden, last year’s starting quarterback for Missouri State who threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in the 51-21 Bison win, was dismissed from the team last spring for violating unspecified team rules. … Missouri State is one of four teams with multiple wins over NDSU since 2009 joining Northern Iowa, Youngstown State and Illinois State, all of whom have two. Besides the 2010 win, MSU won 21-17 in Fargo in 2009. … NDSU’s Marcus Williams returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown in last year’s game against the Bears. … Allen and UNI’s Mark Farley are locked in a battle for the leader in all-time Missouri Valley coaching victories. Farley has 61 and Allen 59, although Farley has done it in three less seasons.
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia