NDSU Beats Rival SDSU to Advance to FCS National Championship Game
The North Dakota State Bison faced a challenge in rival South Dakota State in the FCS Playoffs semifinal on Friday night and they took care of business as usual.
Easton Stick ran for 147 yards and three touchdowns and threw for another as the Bison outdueled the Jackrabbits, 44-21.
With the game tied at 7-7 late in the second quarter, Stick broke free for a 34-yard touchdown scamper to put the Bison up 14-7 going into the half. The game would never be tied after that.
NDSU received the kickoff to start the third quarter and on the very first play from scrimmage, Seth Wilson took the handoff and went 78 yards to the Jackrabbits 3-yard line. An SDSU penalty made it first and goal at the 1. Bruce Anderson punched it in with a touchdown run on the very next play to make it 21-7.
The Jackrabbits would respond with a score on their next drive. Quarterback Taryn Christion hit Isaiah with a 47-yard pass to get to the NDSU 10-yard line. Two plays later, Christion threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Blake Kunz to make it 21-14.
On NDSU's ensuing possession, they went to work on a 10 play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown pass from Stick to Anderson to make it 28-14 and the Bison had their breathing room back. A three-and-out on the Jackrabbits' next possession gave the ball back to NDSU and Anderson would strike again. Anderson scored on a 41-yard touchdown to make it 35-14 and you could hear the buses to Frisco, TX getting started.
SDSU scored on their next possession on a 52-yard pass to Cade Johnson from Christion, but the Bison tacked on a 32-yard field goal with 6:21 left in the game on a 15 play drive that took 9:06 off the clock and had NDSU up three possessions with little time left. Stick would add a 28-yard run touchdown to round out the scoring.
The Bison racked up 608 total yards of offense (439 of those rushing) to the Jackrabbits 357 total yards.
Stick was 12 of 15 for 169 yards passing with a touchdown. Easton Stick is now tied with former NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen for the most wins by an FCS quarterback as his record is 48-3.
The Bison will go for a record seventh national championship on Saturday, January 5th in Frisco, TX when they face the winner of today's matchup between Eastern Washington and Maine. That semifinal game is at 1 p.m. today on ESPN2.