No. 4 NDSU upsets No. 2 UND, 34-13, in Fargo
Bison account for 456 yards of offense; 36 minutes of possession in win
North Dakota State used a formula known to every football fan across the country in a 34-13 upset victory over No. 2 North Dakota on Saturday afternoon from Gate City Bank Field at the FargoDome.
UND (4-1, 4-1 MVFC), who entered as the league’s top rushing defense, surrendered 316 yards on 54 carries while allowing NDSU (5-1, 4-1 MVFC) to possess the ball for nearly 37 minutes in the win. Hunter Luepke shined in his first game of the season for the Bison, rushing 28 times for 190 yards and three touchdowns, including a 55-yard score on the game’s first drive.
Otis Weah continued his assault on FCS defenses, rushing for 129 yards and a career-high 74-yard score on only 13 carries. The Moorhead, Minn., native averaged nearly 10 yards per carry to notch his second 100-yard game of the season.
A trio of Fighting Hawks had at least three catches on the afternoon, but it was true freshman Bo Belquist who shined. The New Rockford native led the visitors with 39 yards and touchdown to pull the green and white within a score on the opening drive of the second half.
Tommy Schuster completed 50 percent of his passes for 143 yards and a touchdown while throwing an interception in the fourth quarter. The redshirt freshman was not sacked for the fourth time in five games, while the UND offense committed only two false start penalties.
Devon Krzanowski led the way for the Fighting Hawk defense once again, leading the team with eight tackles and a half stop for loss. The junior forced his third turnover of the year with an interception in the first quarter, the first of his career at UND. Hayden Galvin also came up with his first pick of the year, stepping in front of Zeb Noland pass that led to Weah’s touchdown scamper one play later.
After a quick pair of stops on first and second down to begin the game, UND looked poised to start the game strong on defense, but a 20-yard pass on third down gave NDSU life before Luepke broke off a 55-yard scamper on the ensuing play to give the Bison a 7-0 lead just 50 seconds into the game.
North Dakota got the offense going after the Krzanowski interception, marching into NDSU territory following an 18-yard screen to Dalton Gee and a 14-yard strike to Chrysten Cochran. The drive stalled at the NDSU 38, however, as Weah was stopped at the line on a 4th and 1 effort. The momentum swung back towards the visitors just moments later, with Gavin leaping for an interception before Weah busted a 74-yard score one play later to cut the lead to 7-6.
NDSU answered right back with a 16-play, 82-yard scoring drive that took over eight minutes off the clock and was capped off by a second rushing touchdown for Luepke to extend the advantage to 14-6 in the second quarter. Both sides couldn’t get much going on offense over the remainder of the half, until Noland found Christian Watson for 63 yards down the sideline for a touchdown with just 1:06 remaining in the half to send the hosts to the locker room with a 21-6 lead.
Needing a spark out of the half, Luke Skokna got it started with a 41-yard kick return to put the Hawks in business to begin the stanza. UND was able to get the Bison to jump offside on a 4th and 1 play to extend the drive, hitting Garett Maag for 20 yards on the next play and the Belquist on a beautiful route in the corner of the end zone for the score and a 21-13 deficit.
UND looked to get the stop on the next drive, but a pass interference penalty on the Hawks gave the Bison new life and they took advantage with a touchdown drive to restore the 15-point advantage, 28-13 heading to the fourth quarter.
North Dakota State added two field goals in the fourth quarter and kept the Fighting Hawks off the board in the frame to pull off the upset over the nation’s second-ranked team.
While NDSU plans to travel to South Dakota for its next contest this Saturday against the Coyotes at 1 p.m., UND will hit the road that day for a showdown with Youngstown State at 11 a.m.