NDSU routs #3 South Dakota 45-17 to advance to the semifinals

In life, you only get a few chances to make right what once went wrong and NDSU had that opportunity Saturday as the Bison traveled to #3 South Dakota in the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs. It had been 70 days since the Coyotes shocked the Bison 24-19 and once again NDSU had to travel to another tough road environment in the DakotaDome. NDSU has been playing their best ball lately, which continued into the first drive against the vaunted USD defense.

It was important for NDSU to grab momentum early and they did, after Cam Miller hooked up with Braylon Henderson to keep the drive alive he ended the drive himself by scrambling into the endzone from nine yards out to give the Bison an important 7-0 lead.

South Dakota responded with a field goal but the next drive was all about Cole Payton as he took a quarterback power play 43 yards to cap off a seven-play, 76-yard drive to put the Bison up 11.

USD went three and out on their next possession and they paid for it dearly as Jayden Price returned the punt 82 yards to the house to give NDSU a 21-3 lead, the same lead that USD had had 70 days prior. That punt return from Price broke the school record for most punt return touchdowns in a career with 5 breaking the record previously held by Richard Lewis.

The Bison continued their dominance in the 2nd quarter by staying on the attack. They bludgeoned USD on the ground but it was a Miller to Joe Stoffel touchdown pass to push the NDSU lead to 25 and it would only get bigger. USD’s offense was held in check especially quarterback Aidan Bouman who was taking shots all day from NDSU’s defensive line but a Cole Wisniewski interception was a massive uppercut. Cole Payton followed up on the ensuing drive by delivering the first-half knockout by taking another quarterback run 17 yards to the house to give NDSU a 35-3 halftime lead

USD would fight back to start the 2nd half as Bouman would find Javion Phelps to make it a 35-10 game. Griffin Crosa would respond with a 40-yard field goal to make it 38-10. 

In the 4th quarter, NDSU would salt it away with a 19-yard touchdown run from TaMerik Williams to make it 45-10. USD would tack on a garbage time touchdown at the end but revenge was sweet for the Bison as they advance to the semifinals for the 12th time in program history as they dominated #3 South Dakota 45-17.

NDSU rolled up over 400 yards on one of the best defenses in the FCS and also held the ‘Yotes under 300 yards. “Code Green” turned in its finest defensive performance on the ground as they held the Coyotes to 52 rushing yards. The Bison defense also forced three turnovers to help out their offense who put up 38 of the 45 points.

NDSU will move on to the semifinals to take the #2 Montana Grizzlies with a trip to Frisco, Texas on the line.

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