NDSU Coasts to Another Conference Victory Over Illinois State
The North Dakota State Bison remained undefeated despite facing one of the top defenses they'll face all season in Illinois State.
NDSU (7-0, 4-0) knew they had to be ready to play against the Redbirds (5-2, 2-2) and the Bison wasted no time showing it. On the first possession of the game, Easton Stick hit Darius Shepherd on a 55-yard pass play to set up Lance Dunn on a 4-yard score to take an early lead, 7-0 before the Redbirds knew what hit them.
Illinois State couldn't solve the Bison defense in the first half. Two of their first three possessions went for three-and-outs and the Bison quickly found themselves in position for another score in the second quarter. Wide receiver Dallas Freeman scored on a 9-yard run to make it a 14-0 game.
On the Redbirds ensuing possession, it looked like the had something going offensively as they drove it down to the NDSU 4-yard line, before Robbie Grimsley picked off Illinois State quarterback Brady Davis on a 3rd and goal.
NDSU would take the ball 95 yards on 12 plays from there and finish it with a 1-yard run from Dunn to make it 21-0 with just over a minute left in the first half.
The Bison's next score would be setup after Illinois State's first possession of the second half went three-and-out. Shepherd returned their punt 69 yards to the Redbirds 17. Three plays later, Dunn scored again, from 2-yards out to make it 28-0.
The Redbirds were able to get in the end zone late in the third quarter and one more time midway through the fourth quarter, but the damage was too much to overcome from NDSU, as they coasted to a 28-14 victory.
Stick threw for 207 yards on 13 of 22 passing with an interception and rushed for 70 yards on 10 carries. Dunn finished with 61 yards on 19 carries and the three TDs. Shepherd had 6 catches for 126 yards while the defense made the plays when they needed to in a showdown of what were the top two defenses in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
NDSU will go to South Dakota (3-3, 2-1 going into tonight) next week at 2 p.m.