Jeff Kolpack, Published September 30 2013
VIDEO: Bohl, Bison prepare for heated rivalry game with Northern IowaFARGO – The weather forecast for this week calls for gradual cooler temperatures. That is until Saturday, anyway, when the heat from the Fargodome will be enough to warm the city.
Northern Iowa is coming to town.
“This will be a playoff game,” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl. “You can slice it, dice it up anyway you want. This team we’re playing is an excellent football team.”
If South Dakota State is considered the friendly rival, then UNI is considered the passionate rival. Put it this way: The two schools are not going to meet at a border somewhere and happily shake hands over the origination of a trophy.
“Through the years, it’s been the most heated game that we’ve had,” Bohl said. “There are a lot of story lines that are out there. There are guys on their team that I sat in their living rooms trying to recruit them and vice versa.”
Those story lines may be getting to be old news. So is former UNI assistant Chris Klieman, now in his third year with NDSU, second as the defensive coordinator. So is that scuffle when some Panthers defenders were rather aggressive in following Bison running back Pat Paschall out of bounds in 2009.
A minor melee followed that skirmish, with Paschall being benched by the Missouri Valley Football Conference for one game for throwing a punch. The Panthers won that game 42-27, the middle of three straight UNI wins in the Division I series.
“For a long time, they’ve been pretty much the kings of our conference,” Bohl said. “It’s going to be an intense football game.”
The throne was passed in 2011 at the Fargodome, both in terms of a Bison win and in the crowd involvement in NDSU football. Many will say the 27-19 win over UNI set the table for the first FCS national title.
This one is without a doubt the marquee home game on NDSU’s schedule this season. The 2:37 p.m. kickoff at Gate City Bank Field, like all other home games, has been sold out since early August, and there’s plenty on the line.
NDSU remained atop the FCS top 25 coaches poll. UNI moved up to No. 4 after an impressive 41-6 win over previously ninth-ranked McNeese State (La.).
“I don’t want to go out and paint the town and say we need the 12th man, but I’d like to,” Bohl said. “I think crowd noise certainly comes into play when you’re on offense. We’ve had good support at home, and I think that’s continuing to build, and we’re in hopes we have as loud environment as what we’ve had.”
Bohl said starting nose guard Ryan Drevlow, who missed the SDSU game with concussion symptoms, has been cleared to play. NDSU reported no other injuries with the exception of a bruised knee to starting left tackle Billy Turner.
“We’re concerned, but we feel like he’ll be cleared,” Bohl said.
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia