Pedersen field goal in OT lifts No. 2-ranked Bison to victory at Youngstown State
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — North Dakota State kicker Cam Pedersen played hero again on the road in a heavyweight matchup.
Pedersen booted a 36-yard field goal in overtime to lift the No. 2-ranked Bison to a 27-24 victory against No. 8-ranked Youngstown State on Saturday in Missouri Valley Football Conference play at Stambaugh Stadium.
The Bison (6-0, 3-0 MVFC) remained unbeaten, handing the Penguins (3-3, 1-2) their second consecutive heartbreaking loss. YSU lost at South Dakota the previous weekend, also on a late field goal.
Pedersen booted a 37-yarder on the final play in a 23-21 victory at Big Ten Conference member Iowa last season.
“It was a similar feeling,” Pedersen said. “There wasn’t too much pressure because I knew the snap was going to be good, the hold was going to be good and there would be good protection. It wasn’t too much different. It was exciting to see one go through.”
Youngstown got the ball first in overtime, in which each team gets the ball at the opponent’s 25-yard line. But the Penguins got nothing in three plays, and Zak Kennedy’s 39-yard field goal was wide left.
That gave the Bison a chance to win the game.
Three running plays got six yards, giving Pedersen the shot. He booted the ball through the uprights, setting off a Bison celebration in the middle of the field.
“It was a perfect night to kick outside, there was minimal wind,” Pedersen said.
Bison head coach Chris Klieman said the Pedersen kick against Youngstown State was “more meaningful” than his winner against Iowa.
“Because it was a Valley win on the road,” Klieman said. “Cam doesn’t get rattled. This is a tough place to win.”
The Bison appeared to take the upper hand in the fourth quarter after junior quarterback Easton Stick took the first play of the quarter 80 yards for a touchdown. Stick took off up the middle on a draw play, evaded one tackle and sprinted the distance untouched.
It gave the Bison their first lead of the game at 24-17 with 14 minutes, 45 seconds remaining.
The Penguins reached midfield on their ensuing possession before being forced to punt. The NDSU offense responded with three first downs, but stalled near midfield, and Youngstown had the ball back at their 10-yard line with 6:24 remaining.
A 35-yard pass on third-and-5 from quarterback Nathan Mays to wide receiver Damoun Patterson moved YSU to its own 49-yard line. Two plays later, Mays ran 36 yards to the Bison 21. Running back Tevin McCaster scored from the 1-yard line to tie the score at 24-24 with 1:23 remaining, setting the stage for overtime.
The Bison and the Penguins took turns dominating a quarter in the first half.
YSU owned the first 15 minutes and took a 10-0 lead after Patterson caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Mays with 1:22 to play in the first quarter. The Penguins gained 128 yards on 20 plays in the opening quarter.