With college gameday in town, the Bison waltzed into Brookings and stole a win from the Jackrabbits
This past Saturday, Bison football stampeded their way through Brookings, SD and the Jackrabbit campus. While it stayed close throughout, the Herd came back to Fargo with the Dakota marker in hand. The 23-16 victory over SDSU marks NDSU’s 29th straight win.
There was a buzz in the air before the rivalry matchup. Not only was it the exciting ESPN’s college game day in Brookings, but everyone knew the intensity this game would hold.
The last time the Bison lost a football game (you have to go all the way back in 2017 to find it), was the last time they went to Brookings to play the blue and gold Jackrabbits.
Add in the tension of a long-term rivalry as well as the fact this was a battle between the Missouri Valley Conference’s one and two going head to head, lead to this to be one for the history books. Oh, and did I also mention this was a game between two redshirt starting quarterbacks?
The opening kickoff came with a nice sunny day in front of a crowd of 19,371. SDSU received the ball first and ended with a 6-play drive with a field goal from Chase Vinatieri, nephew of the NFL’s all-time leading scorer as well as former Jackrabbit, Adam Vinatieri.
NDSU followed up with a dive that ended in a field goal attempt of their own. However, Griffin Crosa’s kick was blocked by SDSU’s Ryan Earith.
The Jackrabbits marched down the field again getting stopped just short of the endzone at the eight-yard line. A chip shot later from Vinatieri and SDSU was up 6-0 over the Bison.
The home team wasn’t all excited about their scoring drive though. On the sixth play, J’Bore Gibbs, their starting quarterback, went down with an injury that, and he wouldn’t come back for the rest of the game.
That meant a chance for junior Kanin Nelson to have his time to shine. After the big news drive, Bison go the ball back and wasted it with a 3 and outdrive. They lucked out because SDSU did the same.
The Bison go their next shot at the ball a minute into the second quarter. This time, after eight minutes, 85 yards, and 15 plays, NDSU finally got some points on the board with a Crosa field goal making 6-3 SDSU.
After that, the Jackrabbits made a long drive of their own that came to the very end of the half. On the Bison 20-yard line with only three seconds left on the clock, Vinatieri lined himself up for another field goal attempt. This time, he didn’t have his magic touch and missed making it only a 3-point game heading into the half.
The Bison came back out of halftime with more of the same and started with a three and out. Once again, luck was on their side and the defense forced SDSU to punt on the following drive.
From here on out is when the game really started to get interesting. After 6 plays and 80 yards, the Bison were in the endzone for the first touchdown of the game on an explosive 59-yard run from running back Ty Brooks.
This brought the score up to 10-6 NDSU, and the Herd wasn’t done yet. The Bison’s Spencer Waege hit Nelson in the backfield and forced a fumble the Herd recovered.
They were set up for a short drive at the SDSU 14 when Trey Lance fumbled the ball. However, he was quick in recovering the ball and the Bison eventually scored on a six-yard pass from Lance to the tight end, Ben Ellefson. The team followed by failing a two-point conversion.
With the score now 16-10, SDSU answered with a drive ending it yet another Vinatieri field goal, this one from 40 yards back.
Then NDSU had a short drive that ended in a punt and brought the start of the fourth quarter. With the ball back in their hands, SDSU was ready to get more than just 3 points this time. The Jackrabbits chipped away down the field and scored a touchdown on a three-yard run from Keaton Heid.
After a successful PAT, it was all tied up at 16-16. It became clear the momentum was on the SDSU side when on the Jackrabbits side when the ball was intercepted on trick play pass attempt from Dimitri Williams.
It was time for the Bison D to step up again, and they did it again. On their own fifteen, NDSU’s Josh Hayes intercepted the ball putting procession back in Herd hands.
NDSU quickly got to fourth down, but coach Matt Entz decided to take a chance. On fourth and one on their own 29, the Bison kept the offense on the field.
It all paid off when on an inside handoff to Adam Cofield, he broke away and took it 71 yards to the house. Up 23-16, the Herd defense made one more stop to seal away the game and took home the Dakota Marker trophy for the second week straight.
NDSU is now 8-0 on the season while SDSU is 6-2. Again, this was the 29th straight win.
The Herd’s next matchup will be this Saturday, November 2nd at 6 p.m. against the 5-3 Youngstown State Penguins all the way over in Ohio.