Bison Pound the Paladins
NDSU scores 28 second half points in second round win
Published: Monday, December 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, December 9, 2013 14:12
NDSU football, a second half team all year long, did it again in the Football Championship Subdivision second round. With just a 10-7 halftime lead, the Bison offense exploded for 28 unanswered points in a 38-7 victory over Furman.
NDSU’s offense accounted for 265 second half yards that included three third quarter touchdowns in a 7-minute span. The physical downhill running game wore Furman down, as the Bison rushed for 197 yards in the second half and 267 yard total.
“Offensively, some minor adjustments and then becoming a little bit more acclimated to some of their stunting,” NDSU head coach Craig Bohl said on the second half improvement. “And then the second thing that occurred, our ability to run the football. That had a huge impact on the game.”
The first half had the 18,455 fans on the edge of their Fargodome seats. The Bison struck first early in the second quarter on a 52-yard catch and run by Zach Vraa. Furman answered on an impressive 7-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game.
With a little over a minute in the first half, the Bison drove behind the arm of Brock Jensen and Adam Keller knocked in a 37-yard field goal for a 10-7 halftime score.
The Bison had a shot at the endzone, but an incomplete pass sent out the field goal unit.
“There was seven seconds left. I wanted to make sure we’d at least ensure a field goal,” Jensen said.
That’s when the Bison, as they have always done, turned it on in the second half. Running back Sam Ojuri capped a 75-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run three minutes into the half. After forcing a three-and-out, the Bison took six plays to get into an endzone on an Andrew Bonnet 7-yard reception.
And then the dagger came. All-American cornerback Marcus Williams, his first game back since a leg injury against Illinois State on Nov. 9, stepped in front of a Reese Hannon pass and took it 53 yards to the house. Just like that, the Bison held a 31-7 lead.
The pick six was Williams’ seventh of his career, setting an FCS record to go along with his 21 career interceptions.
“It’s an honor,” Williams said. “But I couldn’t do it without these guys next to me and the team we have. I’m honored to have that award, but I feel like it’s all of our award because we all make plays off of it.”
The Bison, chewing up the clock on the ground, added a fourth quarter touchdown after Jensen went untouched for 53 yards to finalize the score at 38-7.
Furman certainly had its chances. Two times the Paladins had the ball on the goal line. The Bison stuffed a fourth-and-inches run on the goal line to start the second quarter. Then, to open the fourth quarter, Furman quarterback Reese Hannon fumbled the snap on a fourth-and-goal at the 2-yard line. Three straight runs were stuffed to give the Bison the ball back. The Paladins also dropped a couple interceptions.
“I thought we moved the ball into the redzone, it was when we got down inside the 5-yard line where we struggled,” Furman head coach Bruce Fowler said. “We’re not the biggest team in the world. North Dakota State’s bigger than we are … and we just didn’t get the ball in the endzone. They did a good job of keeping us out, that’s the bottom line.”
NDSU advances to its fourth straight FCS quarterfinal appearance with the victory. They will face the offensive-powered Coastal Carolina, who defeated Montana 42-35, at 11 a.m. on Saturday.