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Price, Miller spark NDSU to 21-13 win over Illinois State

Jayden Price returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown and quarterback Cam Miller scored on a 6-yard run with 3:39 left in the game to spark No. 5-ranked North Dakota State to a 21-13 win over 22nd-ranked Illinois State on Saturday, March 13, at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

Miller, a true freshman from Solon, Iowa, came off the bench for the Bison (4-1, 3-1 MVFC) to rush for a team-high 57 yards on 11 carries and went 5 of 7 passing for 61 yards playing a majority of the second half in relief of starter Zeb Noland.

Price’s punt return came after a three-and-out on Illinois State’s first offensive possession of the game. It was the third-longest punt return in NDSU history, tying the 85-yard touchdown by Ryan Smith against Missouri State in 2013.

The Bison got another three-and-out before Miller started NDSU’s second drive with a 23-yard completion to Christian Watson. Miller and Noland traded snaps throughout the first half with Noland finishing 6 of 13 passing for 72 yards and two interceptions.

Kobe Johnson’s 15-yard touchdown run capped an eight-play, 67-yard drive that gave NDSU a 14-0 lead with 5:37 left in the first quarter, but the Bison committed four turnovers in the game and wouldn’t score again until Miller’s TD late in the fourth.

Illinois State (0-3, 0-3 MVFC) got a 4-yard touchdown pass from Bryce Jefferson to Tanner Taula in the third quarter and closed within 14-13 in the fourth quarter on Tyler Pennington’s 1-yard TD run before NDSU defensive end Spencer Waege blocked the PAT kick.

North Dakota State kept the ball for the next 8:13 of the game running 13 plays and marching 84 yards for the final score. Meanwhile, Watson finished with four receptions for 93 yards and Dominic Gonnella rushed 11 times for 43 yards for NDSU.

Linebacker James Kaczor made a team-high eight tackles with one pass breakup and two quarterback hurries to lead the Bison defense. Linebacker Jackson Hankey and cornerback Josh Hayes each made seven tackles, and safety Dom Jones snared his first career interception.