Stick the Landing

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Go to your happy place.

Sit down in your Bison lawn chair and relax, because No. 8 North Dakota State (5-2, 3-1 MVFC) beat  No. 18 Indiana State University (4-3, 2-2 MVFC) 28-14 Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

All is well.

The green and gold bounced back after an ugly loss to University of South Dakota, a game that senior quarterback Carson Wentz injured his wrist in on the second drive. Most thought the Bison would bounce back with a win, and few, including myself, thought it might be time to panic.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Easton Stick assured NDSU fans Saturday that everything is all good on the horizon after his first collegiate start.

“It was just kind of a crazy week with how the news broke and all the people that were covering it and stuff, but it was a normal week for me preparation-wise,” Stick said. “I didn’t do anything different; I just kept preparing like I had been, and it was just exciting to play.”

Stick was a duel-threat in Terre Haute, Indiana. He finished with 124 rushing yards, running into the end zone for his first two touchdowns. He carried the football 17 times throughout the day in wet Memorial Field. Stick also finished with 126-passing yards, completed less than 50 percent of his passes (9-for-20) and threw his first career touchdown to high school teammate sophomore wide receiver RJ Urzendowski.

“I was just trying to come back and Easton scrambled out of the pocket there and I just kind of ran the back line of the end zone, and (Stick) made a good throw,” Urzendowski said about the touchdown pass he caught from Stick.

NDSU jumped out to an early 14-0 lead after a 29-yard rushing touchdown by Stick and then a rushing touchdown from junior running back Chase Morlock late in the second quarter.

The Sycamores tied the game up at 14-14 with 10:51 left in the third quarter after a 81-yard rushing touchdown from sophomore quarterback Matt Adam.

In the last three weeks the Bison defense has given up a “big play” to its opponents, often quarterback draws.

“If our offense gets something going and they started to do it I thought we would stop them,” head coach Chris Klieman said. ” … because even at halftime when the score was 14-7 I thought we were in control of the game.”

But NDSU’s defense was good enough to sack Adam two times.

Senior defensive end Brian Schaetz finished with one sack, sophomore defensive end Greg Menard and redshirt freshman Stanley Jones combined for the other sack.

NDSU’s defensive held ISU to 201 total yards, and just nine first downs.

The Bison controlled the time of possession (39:21-20:29), but committed two turnovers, which lead to seven Sycamore points.

NDSU’s defense held ISU’s leading receiver Gary Owens to zero catches. Coming into the game Owens averaged 78.8 receiving yards per game.

The Bison receivers were led by Urzendowski who finished with three catches, and on the ground behind Stick’s big day was junior running back King Frazier who had 13 attempts for 49 yards.

NDSU has not lost back-to-back games sine 2009, and is outscoring opponents 177-45 in its last four games after losses.

“It was nice to get on the road and really play for each other,” Urzendowski said about the win. “It wasn’t a great atmosphere here, we had to create our own energy (and) it was big for us.”

The Bison will play 2 p.m. Halloween Saturday inside Saluki Stadium when the the Herd takes on Southern Illinois University.

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