The Herd roll into the playoffs with undefeated record still intact
NDSU football wrapped up their regular season last Saturday with a 21-7 win over the Southern Illinois Salukis. The game was played in Carbondale, Illinois at Salukis Stadium in front of a crowd of 5423.
NDSU ended its regular season undefeated for the second straight season. The win also marked the program’s 33rd consecutive win, tying the FCS record (also held by NDSU).
Coming into the game the Salukis held a 6-5 record after rattling off five straight wins. All five wins came against conference opponents, meaning this was a battle between two of the top teams in the Missouri Valley.
The Bison received the opening kickoff. A ten-play 91-yard drive highlighted by a 44-yard touchdown run from Kobe Johnson put the Bison up early.
A few drives later, the Salukis were driving. It looked like Southern Illinois was ready to tie the game but NDSU’s James Hendricks had different plans. The Salukis took a shot to the end zone when Hendricks picked the ball off and downed it at the three-yard line.
NDSU didn’t make much of their new-found possession though and punted away the ball as they were forced to punt. Southern Illinois began to march down the field once again, this time punching it in to tie the score at seven apiece.
The score would remain that way heading into halftime. With 30 minutes to play, the Bison’s win-streak appeared to be in serious jeopardy.
Southern Illinois started the half with the ball and cruised their way down to the Bison 26-yard line. With the momentum and home-crowd behind them, the Salukis looked like they were ready to be in it until the final whistle.
Then kicker Nico Gualdino missed a 43-yard attempt, giving NDSU the ball.
Southern Illinois would end up not scoring in the second half.
NDSU didn’t waste their opportunity. Adam Cofield punched the ball in for the Bison from eight yards out to put the score to 14-7.
Southern Illinois got the ball back but couldn’t go anywhere and punted it back to Trey Lance and the Bison offense. Lance and co were able to essentially ice the game with nearly a seven-minute touchdown drive.
The drive was capped off by a 34-yard TD run from Lance. Now with less than a quarter to go and the Salukis offense looking loose, Bison fans could put their minds at ease.
After the 65-14 romp by the Bison in the last meeting between these two teams, Southern Illinois could look at this defeat in a positive light.
NDSU will now be heading to the playoffs with a first-round bye. The road to Frisco will once again go through Fargo.