(In a unique turn of events, we decided to highlight two different games in Week 7. Marc provides the backstory in Part 1, a summary of Chattanooga at The Citadel.)
Late in the 4th quarter North Dakota State held a 17-13 lead with South Dakota State driving. SDSU QB Taryn Christion could not connect with any receivers after a miscommunication on 4th and 15 with 4:00 left in the 4th quarter from the NDSU 31. It felt like the Bison had dodged another bullet, something they have done quite a bit in 2016. It seemed like the Jackrabbits had run out of time with the Bison offense back on the field and only 2 timeouts in their pocket.
Unfortunately for the Bison faithful, Easton Stick and the NDSU offense gained 4 yards and went 3 and out before punting back to the Jackrabbits.
South Dakota State went to work. Christion would go 6 for 10 and would connect with WR Jake Wieneke on a 2 yard pass with :01 left on the clock to give the Jackrabbits the win.
With a 19-17 lead the Jackrabbits took a knee on the 2 point conversion to prevent the Bison from having a chance to return any attempts for a game tying safety. They squibbed the ensuing kickoff and the Bison returner did not fall to the ground fast enough and the game was over.
On the day Christion was 24-42 for 303 yards. He connected on 2 touchdowns, including the game winner, and threw only 1 interception. He added a lot on the ground as well, 20 attempts for 140 yards including a long run of 39. Dallas Goedert and Jake Wieneke were big factors for the Jackrabbit offense. Goedert was the leading receiever with 11 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. Wieneke added 6 catches for 108 yards and the game winning touchdown.
For the Bison, it was a quiet day for quarterback Easton Stick through the air. He went 14-20 for 143 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. On the ground he was NDSU’s leading rusher adding 86 yards on 12 carries and scored both Bison touchdowns. Darrius Shepherd was his top target with 6 catches for 74 yards.
All of the sudden South Dakota State finds themselves in the driver’s seat for the MVFC championship. I’m sure they welcome the idea of their playoff road not going through Fargo (now if they can also avoid Missoula). The Jackrabbits face Youngstown State in their next game and the Penguins are injury riddled and did not look good against a downtrodden Northern Iowa squad. SDSU also faced the task of playing Northern Iowa in the UNI-Dome, but given their win in the Fargodome and the aforementioned woes of the Panthers, things are looking very good for the Jackrabbits.
For the Bison, everything is okay. The sky hasn’t fallen. During their recent dynasty NDSU has dropped games against worse opponents. The Bison head to Macomb to take on a Western Illinois squad that has lost a lot of its shine. The Bison are still in prime shape to spend a lot of the playoffs at home if they can bounce back. They should be able to win out with the schedule in front of them.