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Jeff Kolpack, Published December 20 2013

Bison RB John Crockett goes over 1,000 rushing yards for the season

FARGO – North Dakota State running back John Crockett needed four yards Friday night to reach 1,000 for the season. He got that on his first carry.

There would be 12 more times he would get the ball, and the University of New Hampshire spent the rest of the game chasing the Bison junior. He ran for 195 yards in the 52-14 win that sends the Bison to the Division I FCS title game Jan. 4 in Frisco.

“All the credit goes to the offensive line,” Crockett said. “I got caught twice and I was a little upset at that. It wouldn’t be right unless we got back to Frisco and that was the biggest thing.”

With running back Sam Ojuri already over 1,000, it was the third straight year NDSU put two backs over that milestone. Crockett was coming off a quiet first two playoff games when he had six carries for 14 yards against Furman and nine attempts for 49 yards against Coastal Carolina.

“It was opportunities, they came today,” Crockett said.

Vigen gets congrats

from senior class

With the game in hand, offensive coordinator Brent Vigen came down from the coaching booth to the NDSU sideline. The Bison seniors who he recruited gave him a thank you.

It was a gesture head coach Craig Bohl made note of in his postgame news conference.

“He recruited Ryan Smith, Kevin Vaadeland, John Crockett, Taylor Nelson, Leevon Perry, Grant Olson, Ryan Drevlow, Travis Beck, Carlton Littlejohn, Marcus Williams,” Bohl said. “That hit me when the seniors stood up and all thanked coach Vigen for recruiting them. That’s an impressive class right there.”

Olson unexpectedly

back on the field

NDSU linebacker and senior leader and captain Grant Olson suited up for the first time since tearing the ACL in his knee against Illinois State on Nov. 9. Olson was able to give it a go because the swelling in his knee subsided and he was able to move without much apparent pain.

“He just wanted to play another play,” Bohl said. “Grant was serviceable tonight. He wasn’t going to be at full strength but we had a couple of plays where we were able to insert him. He didn’t get hurt and it was great to see him out there.”

Olson is scheduled to have surgery after the season. Olson wore a brace, but playing on it couldn’t hurt it any worse than it is.

Kramer, Goeser to

stay with program

NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor said before the game that director of athletic performance Jim Kramer and defensive tackles coach Nick Goeser are staying with the Bison. Goeser is in his fourth year with NDSU and is the only confirmed assistant to stay to date.

Counting his last two years at Minnesota-Duluth, Goeser has coached teams that have a 76-9 record in the last six years.

Kramer directs NDSU’s offseason strength and conditioning program that has gotten rave reviews by the players.

“They respect him a ton,” Taylor said. “When you hear the players talk about the impact that he’s had, it’s very important.”

Etc. etc. etc.

Bison receiver Ryan Smith left the game early with a hamstring injury. Bohl said after the game the severity of it will be known in the next couple of days. … With his 50-yard scoring catch in the first quarter, junior receiver Zach Vraa moved into fourth place on the all-time NDSU touchdown reception chart with 18 passing Kole Heckendorf. Tim Strehlow has the record with 26. … Perry’s 6-yard fumble return for a touchdown was the first for an NDSU player since Kyle Emanuel did it against Northern Iowa in 2011. It was also NDSU’s fifth defensive touchdown of the season with the other four being interceptions being returned for scores. … The attendance of 18,694 was the largest Fargodome playoff crowd with all of the dome postseason games coming in the last four years.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia