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Jeff Kolpack, Published December 26 2013

Bison football holds practice in Alerus Center due to Fargodome schedule conflict

FARGO – North Dakota State is playing football in Grand Forks after all.

The Bison bussed to the Alerus Center on Thursday and will do so again Friday to practice in preparation for the Division I FCS national title game. The Fargodome wasn’t available because of the Rumble on the Red high school wrestling tournament, so the football team had to look elsewhere for practice space.

The Bison play Towson University (Md.) on Jan. 4 in Frisco, Texas.

NDSU’s outdoor practice turf at Dacotah Field was an option, but the Alerus provided a more quality atmosphere, said NDSU athletic director Gene Taylor, because of the winter weather. Other possibilities considered were the Shelly Ellig Indoor Track & Field Facility on campus and the Sports Bubble in south Fargo.

At $1,000 per day, NDSU rented the Alerus like any other client would. The cost includes security.

Taylor said the football team looked at renting the Alerus last year during the wrestling tournament, but the facility was not available. Plus, having two weeks between the semifinal and title games this year, as opposed to three in the previous two championship game appearances, put more of a premium on having full-field practices this week.

“With three weeks, it was not as big of a deal,” Taylor said. “They did more walk-through stuff with practice being outside.”

Alerus officials could not be reached for comment to provide further details.

NDSU last appeared in the Alerus in 2003 – the last time the Bison and the University of North Dakota played a game. The series ended when NDSU moved to Division I, and efforts to renew the game with UND’s Division I affiliation have not been successful.

NDSU is taking Saturday off and will return to the Fargodome for practice Sunday until it leaves for Frisco on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, NDSU will be getting more game tickets after Towson returned some of its allotment to the NCAA. The exact number wasn’t to be known until late Thursday night, but ticket manager Josh Hemingway put it as “a few additional.”

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