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Jeff Kolpack, Published September 17 2013

For Bison football players, Saturday will feel like just another game

FARGO – The North Dakota State football players will be in full-go game mode when ESPN televises its “College GameDay” show on Saturday morning. There will be no sneaking a peek at the telecast in downtown Fargo.

Besides, in the case of defensive end Kyle Emanuel, he’s been there, done that.

The junior from Schuyler, Neb., saw the show in 2007 when he was in high school. The University of Nebraska hosted the show with USC in town.

“It’s pretty unbelievable, and I know the fans are going to enjoy it,” Emanuel said.

His “GameDay” experience consisted of getting up about 4 in the morning and driving the 70 miles from Schuyler to Memorial Stadium. He stood in line for an extended period of time but once inside, he said the stadium seemed about half full.

“Seeing it live and seeing it from behind the scenes was a really cool experience,” Emanuel said.

Asked if he had a tip for Bison fans, he said enjoy the experience, be loud and don’t be afraid to show your allegiance.

“Boo Lee Corso if he doesn’t pick us,” he said with a laugh.

Emanuel, like a lot of Bison players have said this week, was shocked when he found out the show was coming to Fargo. He got a text message from his brother and figured he was kidding.

Defensive end Mike Hardie was in a class last Saturday morning when quarterback Carson Wentz told him the news.

“It was just crazy to think the whole setup is coming here,” Hardie said.

But none of the players will be a part of it. They’ll be at a team pregame meal with a 2:30 p.m. kickoff against Delaware State looming.

“Once Friday comes and we get into our pregame mode, I think it will be over and out of our minds,” Hardie said.

The routine is probably no different than all the hype that went into the last two FCS national championship games or the nationally televised Kansas State opener this year.

“Like those experiences, embrace it, don’t run away from it,” said NDSU offensive coordinator Brent Vigen. “Don’t try to pretend it’s not there, but still understand there’s a game to play, and I think they’re pretty mature about 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