NDSU Football wins 49-31 over Central Arkansas

North Dakota State Football has had many questions surrounding them this season, especially on offense. The Bison offense answered all questions by erupting for 49 points in a decisive win over Central Arkansas.

Central Arkansas last faced NDSU in 2020 during the pandemic and they threw everything but the kitchen sink at NDSU, they even led in the 4th quarter. However, Trey Lance and company rallied for a 39-28 win. This time around the Bears arrived in Fargo very confident after a win over NAIA Texas College and a 14-point loss to Oklahoma State. 

NDSU came into this game with two wins over Eastern Washington and Maine. Still, the story was the Bison defense under new coordinator Jason Petrino had been keeping opposing offenses in check. The NDSU offense is coming off a game vs. Maine in which they were unimpressive. They needed a game to break out or as several media members said they could lose.

Central Arkansas won the toss and deferred their choice to the 2nd half giving NDSU the ball first. The Bison preceded to punch the Bears right square in the face going 81 yards in only five plays capped off by Cam Miller touchdown run, 7-0 Bison. 

The teams traded punts the next two possessions then the NDSU defense chipped in on the scoreboard. Central Arkansas quarterback Will McElvain drops back to throw on a 3rd and four near midfield. The pass is batted and picked off by Eli Mostaert, he rumbles his way to the endzone to make it a 14-0 game. 

Then then almost looked like a pinball game broke out as six of the last seven drives resulted in points. Central Arkansas got back into the game as their star running back ShunDerrick Powell scored from 43 yards out to make it 14-7. The Bison responded by going 66 yards in 5 plays and scoring on a touchdown pass from Cam Miller to TK Marshall, 21-7 Bison. The Bears responded with a field goal to cut the lead to 11. The Bison then countered with another touchdown as Cam Miller found Hunter Brozio to extend the lead to 18, 28-10. Central Arkansas then threw a haymaker as ShunDerrick Powell found a crease and outran the entire Bison defense for a 71-yard touchdown to make it a 28-17 game. NDSU threw the last punch of round 2 by scoring again this time Cole Payton ran one in from 26 yards out to extend the lead to 35-17. The bell rings and each team is sent to the locker room.

Central Arkansas took the 2nd half looking to cut into the deficit but that didn’t happen as on a 3rd and 10 McElvain finds receiver Jarrod Barnes but as he is being tackled Cole Wisniewski strips him and the fumble is recovered by Jayden Price. The Bison capitalized on the turnover with another Cam Miller rushing touchdown to make it a 42-17 game. 

The Bears punted on their next drive giving the Bison the ball back with a chance to put it away. They did just that as TaMerik Williams scored from eight yards out to go up 49-17. Central Arkansas scored two meaningless touchdowns to pull within 18 but that was as close as the Bears would get as North Dakota State goes into their bye week 3-0 as they beat the Central Arkansas Bears 49-31.

The NDSU offense was sharp putting up 481 total yards, Cam Miller was 18 of 19 for 200 yards and three total touchdowns. TaMerik Williams ran 13 times for 83 yards and a touchdown. The Bison may also have found a #1 receiver as Eli Green tallied four catches for 86 yards. The Bison had over 34 minutes of possession time and scored on 6 of 10 offensive possessions.

Central Arkansas has a special player in running back ShunDerrick Powell he ran 18 times for 218 yards and two scores. He is listed at 5’8 so he is hard to find behind lineman and he is hard to bring down, he’s almost like Emmit Smith behind the great Cowboys lines of the early 90s. 

Bears’ head coach Nathan Brown was asked which team was better NDSU or Oklahoma State and he said “It would be a heck of a game”. 

North Dakota State goes on their bye and then opens Valley play against the South Dakota Coyotes at home on Homecoming.

Central Arkansas drops to 1-2 on the season, they return home to take on Abilene Christian.

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