North Dakota State survives scare to beat UND 16-10
Quincy Patterson's 3-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter iced the win for the Bison.
Bubba Schweigert's phone was already buzzing minutes after the game.
A theme of the messages was that the first game between UND and North Dakota State in Grand Forks since 2003 was good for the state.
"You know what? I want it great for the state when we win," the UND football coach said.
On Saturday, the No. 10 Fighting Hawks gave the No. 5 Bison their best fight in the Division I era but it still wasn't enough as NDSU avoided the scare with a 16-10 win in front of 12,846 fans -- the largest crowd at the Alerus Center since the first season of the venue in 2001.
"That was the most fun football game I can remember," Bison linebacker Jackson Hankey said. "I thought the defensive played really well and the offense stepped up when we needed them to and we were for fortunate to come out with a win against a really good football team."
The Bison, who snapped UND's 12-game home winning streak, won their first game in Grand Forks since 1997 and won in the Alerus Center for the first time, despite only scoring one touchdown, passing for just 57 yards and ending 3-for-13 on third down.
UND's defense gave its offense chance after chance, but the Hawks were held to one first-quarter touchdown -- a 30-yard Tommy Schuster pass to Bo Belquist on a trick play in which the offense pretended to glance to the sideline right at the time of the snap.
The Hawks were 0-for-2 on fourth down, including a Belquist reverse on fourth-and-2 in the fourth quarter and a Quincy Vaughn fake punt from UND's own 20. The Vaughn sneak was stuffed and the Bison responded with a go-ahead 30-yard field goal to take a 9-7 lead with 4 minutes, 34 seconds left in the third quarter.
"I'll second-guess it, no doubt," Schweigert said of the fake punt. "I'll second-guess it because it didn't work. The far (official) had us getting (the first down) and the other guy said he had a better look. That's the way the game's played, so you have to live with it."
The game's only turnover was a costly one. Finally finding some offensive rhythm late in the third quarter, UND reached the NDSU 25 trailing 9-7.
On third-and-5 from the 25, Schuster tried to improvise on a scramble. He wasn't on the same page with his intended target, however, and Schuster lofted an easy interception to Dawson Weber to zap the Hawks' momentum.
"Love Tommy, and he's trying to make a play," Schweigert said. "Should've thrown it away and kick a field goal. He'd take it back. It's always easier after the play. But I love Tommy, he competes hard."
In the fourth quarter, after the Bison stuffed the Belquist reverse on fourth down, NDSU countered with a strong drive centered on the ground attack, utilizing fullback Hunter Luepke, who had hurt the Hawks with three touchdowns in NDSU's 21-point win last spring in Fargo.
That drive ended with Bison quarterback Quincy Patterson keeping the ball on a 3-yard touchdown run on third-and-goal with 73 seconds left in the game.
"It was a defensive contest, no doubt," NDSU coach Matt Entz said. "I felt like our running game was decent on first down, but we just couldn't get into the flow of it. They did a great job of getting us off the field on third down."
After the Bison took a nine-point lead, UND countered with an Adam Stage 46-yard field goal with 16 seconds left but the Hawks' onside kick was unsuccessful.
The Bison finished with 280 yards of total offense to UND's 289. Patterson, a first-year transfer from Virginia Tech, was 4-for-10 passing for 48 yards. He did carry 19 times for 92 yards to finish as NDSU's leading rusher.
NDSU standout wide receiver Christian Watson finished with no catches. In fact, the only Bison receiver to gain any positive yards in the passing game was tight end Noah Gindorff, who had four grabs for 58 yards.
NDSU kicker Jake Reinholz provided nine points. He hit on kicks of 45, 34 and 30 yards.
The UND defense was led by Devon Krzanowski, who had 10 tackles, a sack and 3.0 tackles for loss. UND had 11.0 tackles for loss as a team.
UND running back Otis Weah, a preseason All-American, led the offense with 19 carries for 85 yards. Schuster finished 18-for-32 for 176 yards. Running back Luke Skokna was the top pass catcher with six grabs for 50 yards.
"Definitely disappointed," Belquist said. "We battled but it just didn't go our way at the end of the game."