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Jeff Kolpack, Published January 20 2014

Bison add Incarnate Word to football schedule

FARGO – A new name to FCS Division I and certainly a new name to North Dakota State fans will come to Fargo Sept. 13 for a non-conference football game. The University of Incarnate Word (Texas) is an independent that just completed its first season in a Division I transition.

The Cardinals will join the Southland Conference next season and won’t eligible for the FCS playoffs until 2017. The San Antonio-based school was previously a Division II program.

They’ll get a $190,000 guarantee from NDSU in a straight one-year contract. The Bison now have 11 games scheduled and it appears both athletic director Gene Taylor and head coach Chris Klieman are on board in finding a 12th game.

“I think so because we’re going to be a younger team,” Klieman said. “You look at our roster and we have a bunch of seniors and a bunch of younger guys, we’re young at quarterback and defensive tackles, and I think that would help us.”

Taylor said a 12th game most likely will be a home-and-home contract with an FCS school with the Bison hitting the road first next fall. He said the fact NDSU lost 24 seniors from the unbeaten championship season has more schools willing to play the Bison.

NDSU was forced to schedule Division II Ferris State (Mich.) last season because no FCS school would come to Fargo.

“We’ve taken some calls from a couple of schools that wouldn’t play us the last couple of years,” Taylor said.

Incarnate Word finished 6-5 last season, but its schedule was sprinkled with non-FCS foes. It won’t have that luxury next season as a Division I counter.

“They needed to ramp up their schedule,” Taylor said.

Roehl expected to return to NDSU as assistant

Klieman said he’s hoping to finalize his coaching staff this week with the hiring of three assistants. One of those will be former Bison standout and current Moorhead High assistant Tyler Roehl, who will coach the fullbacks and tight ends.

Neither Klieman nor Roehl could publically talk about the position until the university hiring process is completed.

“I’m hoping by Wednesday,” Klieman said.

Minnesota State-Mankato assistant Joe Klanderman appears to be in the mix for the defensive backs position, according to one coaching website. The other NDSU opening is the wide receivers coach.

Roehl finished his Bison career in 2008 and signed a free agent contract with the Seattle Seahawks. He spent the 2011 season as a Bison assistant.

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia