NDSU Wins Final Regular Season Game in the Snow
On a snow covered Illinois State field, the North Dakota State Bison outplayed the Redbirds in the second half on the ground to come away with a victory.
A rainstorm in the first half turned into snow that blanketed the field, making the passing game obselete, but for the Bison, Bruce Anderson turned his game up to help NDSU come away with the victory. Anderson finished with 95 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown while quarterback Easton Stick added 87 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns, including a 56 yard run that all but sealed the victory over Illinois St., 20-7.
With the weather only helping out both already stellar defenses, the score remained 0-0 at the half. NDSU outgained Illinois St. in first half yards, 87 to 64.
After the Redbirds punted their first possession of the second half away, the Bison used a series of Anderson runs in Illinois St. territory before Stick ran in the first score of the game from 10 yards out to make it 7-0. On the Redbirds next possession, Jabril Cox intercepted a Jake Kolbe pass and returned it 32 yards to the Illinois St. 25 to give the Bison great field possession. A 16 yard run from Ty Brooks set up first and goal for the Bison, who would score three plays later on a 1 yard Anderson touchdown. The after point was blocked by Illinois St. to make it 13-0.
The teams would then trade punts until with just under three and half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter when Redbirds running back James Robinson would run in a score from 11 yards out to make it a 13-7 game with 3:21 remaining. The Redbirds would kick away to the Bison and needed a stop to get the ball back, but on the second play of the ensuing possession, Stick ran 56 yards to the Illinois St. 1 yard line before fumbling, only to be recovered by Anderson, which all but sealed the victory. Stick would run in for a score on the next play to finish off the scoring.
The NDSU game was as tough as ever, holding the Redbirds to just 219 total yards.
The victory give the Bison the outright Missouri Valley Football Conference championship. It also assured them of an automatic FCS playoff bid. The playoff matchups have yet to be announced.