No. 1-ranked Bison, Cox glide to victory against Delaware
FARGO — North Dakota State sophomore Jabril Cox accomplished something Saturday, Sept. 22, that a Bison football player hadn’t done in more than 50 years.
Cox returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown to jump-start a 38-10 victory against the Delaware Blue Hens on Saturday in NCAA Division I FCS action before 18,883 fans at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
It marked the second consecutive week that Cox returned an interception for a score for the No. 1-ranked Bison. Del Gehrett was the last NDSU player to return a pick for a touchdown in back-to-back games in 1967.
“I’m trying to prove a point now,” Cox said with laugh. “I knew we needed turnovers. It came so early. I didn’t expect it.”
Cox returned an interception 43 yards for six points the previous week in a 38-7 victory against North Alabama at the Fargodome.
“I told Jabril we’re going to be expecting one every game now,” said Bison quarterback Easton Stick, who passed for 280 yards and two touchdowns against the Blue Hens.
The Bison (3-0) are undefeated heading into their Missouri Valley Football Conference opener next Saturday against rival South Dakota State at the Fargodome. NDSU scored 28 points in the first quarter against Delaware and built a 35-0 halftime lead on homecoming.
“They really all but knocked us out there in the first quarter,” Delaware head coach Danny Rocco said.
The Bison started fast, taking the opening possession 75 yards for a touchdown. Stick capped the nine-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown run that gave NDSU a 7-0 lead with 10 minutes, 28 seconds to play in the first quarter. Moments later, Cox electrified the Fargodome crowd.
On Delaware’s first play from scrimmage, quarterback Pat Kehoe threw a pass into the flat that Cox undercut and intercepted. The 6-foot-3, 231-pound Cox stumbled for a moment and then glided into the end zone to give the Bison a 14-0 lead with 10:13 to play in the first quarter.
“We realized early on how dominant they could be on defense,” Rocco said. “They had some guys that really played fast today. They were very aggressive on defense.”
Stick added a 12-yard touchdown run and an 18-yard touchdown pass to running back Bruce Anderson in the first 15 minutes. Anderson’s TD catch gave the Bison a 28-0 lead with 2:48 to play in the first quarter. NDSU had 178 yards on 21 plays in the opening quarter.
“We needed a fast start and we got off to that fast start,” Bison head coach Chris Klieman said. “I thought that we could do something special today.”
Stick capped the scoring in the first half with an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ben Ellefson that gave the Bison a 35-0 lead with 8:48 to play in the second quarter. The 6-foot-2, 221-pound Stick completed 15 of 22 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. The Bison had 368 yards on 46 plays at halftime.They finished with 527 yards on 69 plays.
“This is pretty much the result when you play a bad game against a very good team,” Rocco said.
The Bison held the Blue Hens scoreless until the fourth quarter. Delaware kicker Frank Raggo booted a 33-yard field goal that cut the Bison lead to 38-3 with 4:12 to play. Blue Hens defensive back Malcolm Brown scored on a 92-yard fumble return that made it 38-10 with 1:57 remaining.
The Bison limited Delaware to 152 yards on 55 plays. They also had three interceptions and a fumble recovery to go along with three sacks.
“I was really pleased all game long with our defense,” Klieman said. “The guys are playing with a lot of confidence on defense.”
Cox finished with five solo tackles, including one tackle for a loss. He also added a quarterback pressure.
“I’m really pleased with the way he’s playing,” Klieman said. “I know he’s playing with a lot of confidence.”