BISON FOOTBALL: NDSU picks up first win since 1999 on SDSU's turf
BROOKINGS, S.D. -- North Dakota State finally solved Coughlin-Alumni Stadium. Sophomore Ryan Smith returned a punt 41 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. That play sparked the No. 3-ranked Bison to a 38-14 victory Saturday against ...
BROOKINGS, S.D. -- North Dakota State finally solved Coughlin-Alumni Stadium.
Sophomore Ryan Smith returned a punt 41 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. That play sparked the No. 3-ranked Bison to a 38-14 victory Saturday against South Dakota State in Missouri Valley Football Conference action before 14,823 fans.
NDSU (7-0, 4-0 MVFC) won in Brookings for the first time since 1999 to retain the Dakota Marker trophy.
"It really feels good to come out of this hostile environment with a win," said NDSU sophomore quarterback Brock Jensen, who completed 20 of 25 passes for 178 yards.
NDSU is 4-4 against SDSU (2-6, 1-4) since the teams started playing for the Dakota Marker trophy. After the final seconds ticked off the game clock, Bison players quickly made their way to the retrieve the trophy, which was located near one of the end zones on the Bison sideline.
"It's disappointing. It's really tough to see that," said SDSU senior linebacker Dirk Kool. "You never want to lose to NDSU. ... That hurts watching that."
The Bison held a 17-7 lead early in the fourth quarter when they forced SDSU to punt from its own 4-yard line. Smith fielded the kick and started right before he cut back left and found daylight.
Smith covered the final yards of the return, diving just inside the pylon and vaulting into the end zone. The played covered 41 yards and staked the Bison to a 24-7 lead with 9 minutes, 24 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.
"Killed us," said SDSU coach John Stiegelmeier.
"I thought that play really pretty much sealed the game," added Bison coach Craig Bohl. "We felt very comfortable as soon as that happened."
The Jackrabbits moved the ball inside the NDSU 10-yard line twice in the first half, but came away with no points in both situations. SDSU had a first-and-goal at the Bison 1 on its first drive of the game. The Jackrabbits settled for an 18-yard field goal attempt, which freshman kicker Justin Syrovatka missed.
"They could have easily went up 7-0 and changed the game," NDSU senior defensive end Coulter Boyer said. "It was game changing."
Syrovatka also missed a 28-yard field goal attempt with 2:24 remaining in the first half.
"The greatest impact was the mental hit, rather than the scoring hit, the loss of confidence," Stiegelmeier said of his team's missed scoring chances. "That's not good football. We need to go into those situations and bury it."
NDSU hosts No. 2-ranked Northern Iowa next Saturday at the Fargodome.
"I know you probably aren't going to have a chance to win the Valley if you don't beat Northern Iowa," Bohl said.
This article is by The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. The Forum and the Herald are both Forum Communications Co. newspapers.