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Jeff Kolpack, Published September 27 2013

NDSU's Perry dismisses "cheap shot" as part of the game

FARGO – If there were any implications that the season-ending injury to North Dakota State defensive tackle Leevon Perry last year was a cheap shot, the Bison senior is not traveling that road this week. He said it was just part of football.

A low block behind the play against South Dakota State last year necessitated offseason microfracture surgery for Perry, who completed rehabilitation well enough to regain his starting spot.

“I’m just happy I can walk again,” he said. “I’m happy everything ended up the way it did. As far as it being a dirty play, it happens. It’s football. I should have played (off the block) and if I would have played off it, it never would have happened.”

Perry started 39 games in three years, including all 14 his freshman season. His return has made a deep defensive line unit even deeper. In the middle, Perry rotates with seniors Danny Luecke, Ryan Drevlow and Anthony LaVoy and sophomore Brian Schaetz.

He calls the Jackrabbits game on Saturday “just another game.”

Is he publicly taking the high road?

“There’s no point for me to dwell on it,” Perry said. “Like I said, I’m happy I can walk again, and there’s a chance I can still do everything I still wanted to do.”

Hardie will see familiar player in SDSU quarterback

Every venture to either South Dakota State or the University of South Dakota is a homecoming of sorts for NDSU’s players who are from the state. Expected on the travel roster today are defensive end Mike Hardie, receiver Trevor Gebhart and safety Andrew Smith, all from Sioux Falls.

Facing SDSU quarterback Austin Sumner from his defensive line spot will be nothing new to Hardie, who faced Sumner in the athletic arena every year since fifth grade. Sumner is from nearby Brandon, S.D.

“We’re pretty familiar with each other,” Hardie said. “It means a lot always playing a team from my home state, a team that recruited me a little bit. This game is one I always circle and definitely want to win.”

Bison put road winning streak on the line today

One streak will come to an end today. NDSU has won 10 straight on the road, and the Jackrabbits have won nine consecutive at Coughlin-Alumni Stadium with the last loss in 2011 to the Bison.

“SDSU is good at home. It’s going to be crazy down there,” Hardie said. “I’m looking forward to it, but it won’t be easy.”

NDSU’s streak is tied for second in active Division I straight road victories with Northern Illinois and Alabama. Oregon is far and away the leader with 16 in a row.

The Bison have actually won 13 straight away from the Fargodome with three neutral-site wins: the two FCS national title victories in Frisco, Texas, and a win over USD in Sioux Falls.

NDSU’s last loss away from home was the 2010 FCS quarterfinals at Eastern Washington.

Etc. etc. etc.

Coaches from both schools will be wearing patches and joining a “Coach to Cure MD” nationwide campaign to raise funds and awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Fans can donate online at www.CoachtoCureMD.org or by texting the word CURE to 90999 and a $5 donation will automatically be added to the next phone bill.

The last time NDSU entered Coughlin-Alumni Stadium as the FCS’s top-ranked team was in 2007 when SDSU built a 20-3 lead and held on for 29-24 win. The attendance that day of 16,345 still stands as the stadium record.

SDSU’s No. 6 ranking in the FCS top 25 coaches poll is its highest ever, topping a No. 9 standing in the 2009 preseason poll.

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