DeLuca undergoes ‘procedure’ on knee, long-term status unknown

By Jeff Kolpack

Forum News Service

FARGO — North Dakota State linebacker Nick DeLuca underwent a medical procedure to his knee on Monday, Sept. 11, said Bison head coach Chris Klieman. That’s about all that is known of the senior who missed last Saturday’s game at Eastern Washington.

Klieman said he was not going to elaborate on the condition of DeLuca until he fully knows all the details. DeLuca was injured during practice last week.

“We probably won’t know anything, if not this week still, next week,” Klieman said. “I don’t know other than there was a procedure done. … I’m not going to say anything until I know for sure.”

What is known about the Bison after two games is the depth of the team is better than prior years. NDSU freely substituted at most position groups in the 40-13 beatdown of the Eagles at Roos Field, a victory that kept the Bison at No. 2 in the Division I FCS top 25 coaches poll.

On defense, for instance, 14 players had between two and five tackles with cornerback Jalen Allison and linebacker Chris Board leading the way with five stops each. Safety Robbie Grimsley had two interceptions, a performance that earned him the Missouri Valley Football Conference co-Defensive Player of the Week.

Continuing to develop the backup players will be a focus this week with NDSU not playing Saturday, Sept. 16, Klieman said. The Bison host Robert Morris University (Pa.) on Sept. 23 before going full throttle into Missouri Valley Conference play.

After two weeks, the Valley is making its mark on the FCS. Seven of the 10 teams were ranked in both the Stats.com media and FCS coaches polls. It’s the 12th time in league history the conference has had that many top 25 teams in one poll.

South Dakota was the latest to enter the rankings and the Coyotes are doing it with authority. They crushed Drake University (Iowa) 77-7 to open the season and beat FBS Bowling Green (Ohio) 35-27 last week. It’s the eighth straight year a Valley team has beaten an FBS team.

“South Dakota jumps out at me,” Klieman said. “Bowling Green is a good program. It’s going to be eight weeks of great football.”

Three Valley teams are ranked in the top five of the coaches poll — only the second time in league history that has happened. NDSU is No. 2, South Dakota State is third and Youngstown State is fifth.

Klieman said fullback Brock Robbins, who missed the Eastern Washington game with a foot problem, doesn’t appear to have a severe injury. Wide receiver Dimitri Williams also was absent Saturday with a hamstring injury, but should be ready for Robert Morris.