NDSU FOOTBALL: Klieman has Bison hitting on all cylinders
VERMILLION, S.D. - University of South Dakota head coach Joe Glenn used an automobile analogy to describe what first-year North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman inherited. "He took the keys to a really nice car, but he hasn't even come close...
VERMILLION, S.D. – University of South Dakota head coach Joe Glenn used an automobile analogy to describe what first-year North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman inherited.
“He took the keys to a really nice car, but he hasn’t even come close to wrecking it,” Glenn said.
The top-ranked Bison were revved up Saturday afternoon, rolling up 524 yards and cruised to a 47-7 victory against the Coyotes in Missouri Valley Football Conference play at the DakotaDome before 9,823 fans.
“We came out and started fast like we needed to do,” said Klieman, whose team scored the game’s first 20 points.
The Bison (8-0, 4-0 MVFC) have won 32 consecutive games, adding to their Division I FCS record winning streak. The streak started with a 54-0 victory against the Coyotes on Oct. 20, 2102 at Howard Wood Field in Sioux Falls, S.D. The three-time defending FCS national champion Bison have won 51 of their past 53 games.
“I didn’t even know that,” Bison senior John Crockett said of the record winning streak with a smile and a wink. “We don’t pay attention to that.”
Crockett handled like a sleek sports car Saturday on the artificial turf, cutting on a dime on a few of his longest gains. He rushed for 123 yards and one touchdown on 23 attempts. The 6-foot, 215-pound back also caught two passes for 46 yards and a score.
“If we can get him close to 30 touches; that would be ideal for us,” Klieman said of his versatile back.
Crockett made arguably his most electric play late in the third quarter. Bison quarterback Carson Wentz was scrambling and then found Crockett in the flat. Crockett slipped a tackle and zipped up the sideline for a 25-yard touchdown. That gave the Bison a 37-7 lead with 2 minutes, 20 seconds to play in the third.
“It’s fun to be able to … catch some balls,” Crockett said. “It kind of adds another element to the offense. I feel like it is another element that can help push us to the next level.”
Klieman likes to see Crockett get involved in the passing game.
“He’s got great hands,” Klieman said. “We’ve got to find ways to get him the football in space.”
After punting on their first possession of the game, the Bison scored on their next four drives. Crockett scored the game’s first touchdown, slicing off tackle for a 10-yard score. That gave NDSU a 13-0 lead with 12:58 remaining in the second quarter.
The Bison pushed their lead to 20-0 after junior tight end Luke Albers caught a 10-yard touchdown pass with 6:00 remaining in the half. Crockett set up that score with a 21-yard reception on a middle screen the play before.
“They have their way right now, and everyone in the league is trying to catch them,” Glenn said of the Bison.
The Bison hit overdrive in the second half, scoring 24 unanswered in the final two quarters. Sophomore running back Chase Morlock capped the scoring with a 23-yard touchdown run that gave NDSU a 47-7 lead with 1:38 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Bison had two players gain more than 100 yards rushing against the Coyotes. Sophomore running back King Frazier rushed for 106 yards on 10 carries to join Crockett.
“We’ve got a good 1-2 punch,” Klieman said.
The Bison limited South Dakota to 243 yards and held the Coyotes (2-6, 0-4) scoreless in the second half.
“They have a good football team,” Glenn said. “I don’t see any weakness. Defensively, they’re the best. I don’t know any team in our division (FCS) that is that good.”