Jeff Kolpack, Published December 19 2013
Anything goes with New Hampshire's offenseFARGO – Coastal Carolina had the impressive scoring average when it came to the Fargodome last week. Furman had a 1,000-yard rusher and a play-making quarterback in the FCS second round playoff game.
Tonight, the pressure goes up for the North Dakota State defense in the semifinal clash with New Hampshire. The Wildcats can do a little bit of everything.
“The biggest threat is they can throw a trick play at us anytime,” said NDSU cornerback Marcus Williams. “They’ve been big on that this year.”
That threat could keep the Bison secondary from charging hard on a running play. New Hampshire running back Nico Steriti and wide receiver Jared Allison are a combined 5 of 5 passing this season for 124 yards, an impressive 24.8 yards per attempt.
Each has thrown one touchdown pass.
“They do have some trick plays, moreso than most teams we’ve played,” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl. “The rest of the stuff they do – there’s a rhyme and a reason. Some teams in the past have been scatterbrained, but these guys have a plan for everything they do and that poses a big challenge. They’re difficult to defend.”
The Wildcats have a 1,000-yard rusher in Steriti and a 1,000-yard receiver in Justin Mello for just the second time in school history. The other came in 1993. Receiver R.J. Harris needs just 29 yards to reach 1,000, and if he gets that it will be the first time in school history two receivers will reach that milestone in the same season.
“We have to stay disciplined,” Williams said.
Williams says Klieman was right call for NDSU
Williams said last Sunday’s naming of defensive coordinator Chris Klieman to the head Bison post when the season is completed was the right move.
Klieman has been Williams’ secondary coach the last three seasons and the coordinator the last two.
“He’s made us into a great defense, and he’s going to bring that to this team,” Williams said. “He knows how to do it and he’s going to do it the right way. He’s going to bring in the right group of guys and the right group of coaches, he’s going to keep these players’ heads on track and keep this thing moving forward. I know it.”
Scottie Hazelton, now at Nevada, was the defensive coordinator Williams’ freshman and sophomore seasons. With Brian Ward as the secondary coach his freshman season and Klieman the last three, Williams has become the school’s all-time leader in interceptions with 21. He has the FCS record for interceptions returned for a touchdown with seven.
Game takes precedence for NDSU’s Turner
The NDSU winter commencement is at 4 p.m. today at the Bison Sports Arena. Bison left tackle Billy Turner still needs an internship to complete his degree requirements but he was eligible to walk in the ceremony.
He probably wouldn’t have time anyway today.
“I don’t think I’ll deal with any of that,” he said.
In January, he will deal with the Senior Bowl. He was selected to play in one of the most important postseason all-star games because it is run by the NFL.
“I was excited but nothing too crazy because I’m concerned with getting that next win,” Turner said.
Sophomore Zack Johnson, who plays next to Turner at left guard, said Turner’s ability to play hard every play impresses him.
“And just how much he communicates out there,” Johnson said. “He’s yelling everything he sees and it helps me a lot so I can guess in my head what’s going to happen.”
Etc. etc. etc.
Bison quarterback Brock Jensen is one of eight active FCS quarterbacks with at least 1,000 career yards rushing and 5,000 passing. He’s thrown for 8,447 yards and run for 1,517, which ranks him third behind Sam Houston’s Brian Bell and Montana State’s DeNarius McGhee.
The Bison have held 12 of their 13 opponents scoreless in the fourth quarter with a touchdown pass by Missouri State’s Ashton Glaser the only hitch. On offense, NDSU is averaging 9:43 time of possession with seven games of having the ball over 10 minutes.
NDSU and Florida State, both 13-0, are the last remaining unbeaten teams in Division I.
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia