NDSU Football Demolishes Sam Houston State, Returns to Frisco
Bison rush for 471 yards in the semifinal victory.
FARGO, N.D. (NDSU Athletics) – Running back Bruce Anderson scored five touchdowns and No. 2 seed North Dakota State broke postseason school records for points, total offense and rushing in a 55-13 rout of sixth-seeded Sam Houston State in the FCS semifinals Friday, Dec. 15, at Gate City Bank Field at the FargoDome.
North Dakota State (13-1) advanced to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Game for the sixth time in seven years, and will face either defending champion James Madison or fifth-seeded South Dakota State on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas.
NDSU put up 471 yards rushing, the most for the Bison in an FCS playoff game, and the 642 yards of total offense is an all-time NDSU postseason record topping the mark of 627 against Indiana (Pa.) in the 1990 Division II championship.
Anderson rushed 17 times for 183 yards and three scores, and his only two pass receptions of 23 and 31 yards both went for touchdowns. Seth Wilson, playing in just his seventh game since having his redshirt pulled, rushed 24 times for 194 yards.
Quarterback Easton Stick went 10 of 17 passing for 160 yards and four touchdowns, another NDSU postseason record. Tight ends Jeff Illies and Ben Ellefson caught TD passes of 12 and 17 yards, respectively.
North Dakota State’s top-ranked defense forced four turnovers including two Marquise Bridges interceptions and a fumble recovery by Tre Dempsey, whose 60-yard interception return to end the first half elicited the loudest cheer of the day from an electric crowd of 18,279.
Freshman linebacker Jabril Cox, who finished sixth in the voting for the Jerry Rice Award, charted a season- and game-high 13 tackles for NDSU including three stops for lost yardage and two others for no gain. NDSU had six tackles for loss.
Sam Houston State quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe was 29 of 51 passing for 289 yards with three interceptions and one touchdown.
The Bearkats (12-2) opened the game with a 13-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a 28-yard field goal by Tre Honshtein, but the Bison scored touchdowns on six of seven possessions in the first half to take a 41-3 lead by halftime.
NDSU went ahead with a 10-play, 75-yard march capped by Stick’s six-yard TD run, then got a 62-yard TD from Anderson on the first play of the next drive following Bridges’ first interception. It was 21-3 Bison at the end of the first quarter after NDSU went 95 yards in 81 seconds on the third drive of the game highlighted by a 55-yard Ty Brooks run.