College Football: NDSU Clinches Share of MVFC Title
Seventh consecutive season the Bison have won the conference.
FARGO, N.D. (NDSU Athletics) – Fifth-ranked North Dakota State clinched at least a share of its seventh straight Missouri Valley Football Conference championship with a 49-14 rout of 10th-ranked South Dakota on Saturday, Nov. 11, before a crowd of 18,623 at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome for the 44th annual Harvest Bowl game.
NDSU (9-1, 6-1 MVFC) tied the league record of seven straight titles set by Northern Iowa in the early 1990s. The Bison can win the league title outright for the third time in program history with a victory at Illinois State (6-4, 4-3 MVFC) in next week’s regular-season finale.
“Yes, we want to go win it outright ourselves but we had an opportunity to do it at home on senior day with 20 great seniors that have meant the world to me and put me in a great position professionally,” said NDSU head coach Chris Klieman. “I’m so happy for those guys and so happy for the way that Easton Stick responded.”
Stick, who threw seven interceptions over the past three games, completed his first 11 straight attempts – the fifth longest streak in school history – and finished 11 of 12 for a career-high 307 yards passing with no turnovers. Ty Brooks rushed for a career-high 152 yards and three touchdowns as the Bison rolled up 647 yards of total offense.
“In our offense, you have to have a lot of repetitions and when (Brooks) was nicked up for four or five weeks during the earlier part of the season, he wasn’t getting the carries from a practice standpoint,” Klieman said. “I was so impressed with Ty. I know he’s an electric football player, but he’s getting more and more comfortable within our offense.”
NDSU’s defense limited South Dakota (7-3, 4-3 MVFC) to its lowest scoring output in two years. Quarterback Chris Streveler was 30 of 47 passing for 232 yards while rushing for another 93 yards and two scores, but the Coyotes lost for the third time in four games.
Cornerback Jalen Allison made a career-high 10 tackles and had one of NDSU’s four sacks. Jabril Cox, Derrek Tuszka and Stanley Jones each recorded sacks and the Bison were credited with nine quarterback hurries and four pass breakups.
USD took the ball to open the game and quickly marched 75 yards in 12 plays to take a 7-0 lead just four minutes into the contest. The Bison, who averaged 11.2 yards per play, used several big plays to respond with scores on their next three drives.
RJ Urzendowski’s 35-yard catch highlighted a six-play scoring drive capped by Brooks’ 8-yard TD run that tied the game. NDSU went 98 yards in seven plays on its second drive keyed by Dimitri Williams’ 24-yard run from the 4 and his 77-yard catch-and-run two plays later to the USD 1 that set up a Bruce Anderson touchdown run.
Stick connected with Urzendowski and Wentz on the third drive for plays of 21 and 40 yards, respectively, and true freshman running back Seth Wilson capped a five-play, 88-yard drive with his first collegiate touchdown – a 33-yard scamper that gave NDSU a 21-7 lead.
NDSU had nine plays from scrimmage go 20-plus yards, including four of its eight longest plays from scrimmage this year. Brooks had two 54-yard runs including one for a TD, and tight end Jeff Illies made the two longest receptions of his career, 46 and 50 yards.
North Dakota State heads into the final week with a one-game lead over South Dakota State and Northern Iowa, both 5-2 in the league. SDSU beat Illinois State 27-24 in overtime and UNI beat Missouri State 25-10.
Illinois State, South Dakota and Western Illinois are tied for fourth place in the conference with 4-3 records.