The renewed instate rivalry was a lopsided affair
Last Saturday, the rivalry returned to the Fargodome–NDSU took on UND for the first in-state match-up since 2015. However, the rivalry wasn’t quite as level as it used to be. The reigning champs crushed UND in a 38-7 victory.
The game started with an NDSU hype fest. 18,923 were in attendance, the largest crowd since 2015, so the building was roaring. Head Coach Matt Entz made his first “Thunderstruck run”, the 2018 championship banner was raised and UND charged out to a sea of boos.
NDSU came out swinging, scoring on their first drive with a 3-yard touchdown run from running back Dimitri Williams. The teams exchanged three and outs the next couple drives before the scoring parade began.
The Herd rounded off the first quarter with a methodical 10 play, 80-yard drive ended with two runs from quarterback Trey Lance, one for the touchdown.
UND was on a mission for their next drive. The Hawks slowly chipped away at the Bison D going 13 plays over 6 minutes. With a couple big pass connections between QB, Andrew Zimmermann and WR Garret Maag, UND made it down to the 2-yard line.
From there it took a short run from RB James Johannesson to score the Hawks only touchdown. The drive is what UND’s coach said was, “the drive… we were looking for.”
The Hawks success was shortlived though. NDSU responded with a scoring drive of their own. It included another big Trey Lance run (this one for 35 yards) and a short 2-yard pass to a wide open TE Ben Ellefson.
One more UND three and out later, the Bison had the ball and ended the half with some clock management, and the Gold Star marching band made their way on to the field.
The second half started with the ball in Fighting Hawks hands, though it didn’t stay there long. Zimmermann was quickly picked off by SS Michael Tutsie. However, the Bison didn’t make much out of their great field position at the UND28. The short drive ended with a field goal from Griffin Crosa making it 24-7 NDSU.
The game continued to spiral for UND. The following drive they went 3 and out. NDSU followed with another scoring drive. This time Noah Gindorff was the receiver, breaking two tackles and going 34 yards to the house.
UND had a big play next drive. Another big pass between Zimmermann and Maag, this one for 30. They couldn’t catch a break though because Derrek Tuszka came in with the big third down sack, and Trey Lance got another rushing touchdown.
To top it all off, Tutsie got himself a second interception on the day. NDSU dominated once again, so maybe the rivalry isn’t quite back yet. UND did put up some good plays, but they aren’t at the standards of seven-time champions just yet.
With the Bison dominating in all phases of the game, all those offseason practices and workouts seem worth it after games like this.
The Bison had ten more minutes in possession time than the Hawks with both coaches noting the important role that the stat played in the game.
The Herd also had nine different receivers catching the ball through the course of the game. Lance was happy with his many options out on the field to throw to remarking, “we’re really talented,” at the wide receiver position.
One worry for a lot of NDSU fans watching was the amount of rushing time Lance got. He led the team in both rushing yards and attempts taking a few hits along the way. While one lineman said, “he runs like a deer,” and “oh my goodness, he’s crazy,” one can only wonder how long that deer can run before he gets hurt.
Regardless, the Bison came away with an excited young team and a home victory. They’ll be playing on the road against Delaware this Saturday and be back home against UC Davis the following week.