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Jeff Kolpack, Published November 30 2012

Despite past experience, crowd could prove to be difficult for Jackrabbits

FARGO – The North Dakota State and South Dakota State football series turns 100 years old today. The birthday party invite list consists of about 18,700 people.

That’s the capacity of the Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome, which hosts the Division I Football Championship Subdivision second-round game. Opinions vary if the noise level will affect the visiting team, mostly because the Jackrabbits have already played one game in Fargo this year.

Last year, James Madison, Lehigh University and Georgia Southern were all noticeably affected by the dome-field advantage in the playoffs.

“I think the crowd fazes everybody that comes in here,” said NDSU defensive coordinator Chris Klieman. “Obviously, they’ve been here before, so they’ll be used to it for the most part. But in the same respect, I think it’s really difficult.”

NDSU hopes the noise limits SDSU’s ability to call audibles at the line of scrimmage. NDSU hopes SDSU resorting to a silent count to snap the ball will allow Bison defenders to get off the line quicker.

The Fargodome is vastly different from most FCS stadiums across the country, not only because it’s indoors but because of the intensity of fans. The closest FCS road trip hostility NDSU has faced under head coach Craig Bohl is probably at Montana, Georgia Southern, Youngstown State, Northern Iowa and SDSU.

It was only three weeks ago when NDSU held off the Jackrabbits 20-17. While SDSU head coach John Stiegelmeier admits a few of his players were “caught off guard” by the dome environment, having that experience should help today.

The Jacks were whistled for nine penalties for 76 yards, with a few of those having classic symptoms of dealing with the decibel level. It will be the third trip to the dome for SDSU’s veteran players that played in the 2010 game.

“Now the young guys won’t go, ‘What’s this?’” Stiegelmeier said. “They’ve done that, did that.”


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