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Jeff Kolpack, Published October 09 2013

Missouri State coach who walked away from NDSU job says focus is on future

FARGO – Missouri State head football coach Terry Allen was asked this week if he regrets not taking the head football coaching position at North Dakota State. Allen was reportedly offered the job in 2003.

Allen cited the lack of an available conference for NDSU and his impression in talking with people in the Missouri Valley Football Conference (formerly Gateway Football Conference) was that the Bison would have a tough time gaining membership in that league.

NDSU did gain entrance and have not only survived the Division I transition, but thrived.

“You can’t look in the rearview mirror,” Allen said. “You always have to look forward.”

Looking forward this week is playing at NDSU Saturday at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. The Bears will bring a team that has been inconsistent and has struggled to win close games.

Take last week, for instance. South Dakota came from behind to win 17-14 on a 41-yard field goal with 1 minute, 24 seconds remaining. It was the Coyotes’ first-ever Missouri Valley victory after going winless in league play last season.

On the other hand, the Bears posted a convincing 37-10 victory against 24th-ranked Illinois State two weeks ago. Quarterback Kierra Harris passed for two touchdowns and ran for another.

It’s been a hit-or-miss season for Harris, who was just 7 of 22 passing last week for 72 yards and two interceptions. For the season, he’s completing 51 percent of his passes on 85 of 167 attempts with six interceptions and four touchdowns.

“It’s been spotty,” Allen said. “He does some good things, but we need consistency.”

The Bears may regain the services of starting running back Ryan Heaston, who broke his collarbone in the first game of the season against Northwestern State (La.).

“We’re going to see this week,” Allen said. “It would be great to get him back. We could sure use him.”

He had two straight 100-yard games in the Valley last year, but a rib injury limited him to just seven games.

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