NDSU prevails over USD in final meeting Coyotes to face North Dakota Nov. 8 for Senior Day

NDSU prevails over USD in final meeting Coyotes to face North Dakota Nov. 8 for Senior Day A long rivalry ended on Saturday, Nov. 1 when the North Dakota State Bison jumped to a 21-0 lead en route to a 35-3 decision over The University of South Dakota Coyotes in North Central Conference football at the Fargo Dome.

The encounter was the 76th meeting between the rivals with the Bison ending the series with a 48-25-3 advantage. The Coyotes, who took a 40-37 four overtime thriller at the DakotaDome in 2002, did not find the magic on this Saturday.

South Dakota's last win in Fargo came during the 1978 season which interestingly was the last time USD won an NCC title in football. These two teams remain the only two squads from the same conference to meet in the NCAA Division II finals, which happened in 1986. But, with the move of NDSU to Division I status next year, the win by NDSU marked the end of the series.

NDSU quarterback Tony Stauss threw for a school-record five touchdown passes to lead the No. 17 Bison (7-2, 6-1) over South Dakota (4-5, 2-4). South Dakota lost for the third straight time this season.

The Coyotes had success moving the ball but for the second straight game could not finish off drives deep in an opponent's territory. They have not scored a touchdown in two and one-half games. It is not as though, they didn't try. The Coyotes ventured in NDSU territory on numerous occasions, but were victimized by turnovers, a missed field goal and untimely mistakes.

USD was led by freshman running back Stefan Logan of Miami, FL, who rushed for 103 yards on 23 carries. Logan had 91 yards by halftime but did not find similar success in the second stanza. Overall, South Dakota had 116 yards rushing on 35 carries. They also had 182 yards through the air and 298 yards in total offense.

Stauss had a career day for the Bison. The junior transfer from Northwestern completed 20-of-27 passes for 214 yards with one interception and five touchdown passes. The Bison, led by Rod Malone's 135 yards on 25 carries, accumulated 148 on the ground. Malone also had four receptions for 14 yards and a touchdown.

While USD had more offensive yards in the first half, it was the Bison who converted opportunities into scores. Early on, a blocked punt led to the first NDSU score. NDSU's Marques Johnson blocked USD's Jarrod Edelen's punt to set up a six-yard scoring pass play from Stauss to Eric Belquist at the 12:18 mark.

With Cory Vartanian's kick, NDSU led USD, 7-0. On the ensuing possession, USD drove the ball to the NDSU two-yard line, using 42 yards rushing on seven carries by freshman halfback Logan. However, the Coyotes could not convert and Cody Butler's field goal attempt from 25 yards was wide right.

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The Bison responded with a 10-play, 80-yard drive, scoring its second touchdown on a 10-yard pass from Stauss to Andy Delabarre. With Vartanian's kick, NDSU led, 14-0 with 1:43 to play in the first quarter.

The Coyotes again moved the ball, reaching the NDSU 25-yard line before mistakes again haunted USD. This time, a grounding penalty cost USD 16 yards and then on fourth down a snap went over quarterback Wesley Beschorner's head and USD lost the ball at the 50-yard line on downs.

NDSU quickly added another score, moving the ball 50 yards in six plays in 2:36 as Stauss threw his third touchdown of the day, this time to Belquist from 17 yards. With Vartanian's kick, the Bison led 21-0, with 10:50 to play in the second quarter.

The Coyotes, who had 183 yards total offense in the first half, again drove the ball deep inside Bison territory. A 23-yard run by Logan keyed the scoring drive. However after reaching the Bison two-yard line, the Coyotes were forced to settle on a 33-yard field goal by Edelen at the 2:26 mark.

USD used up 8:24 of the clock on the scoring drive, drawing within 21-3.

In the first half, USD totaled 102 yards rushing and had 81 yards in the air. Beschorner completed three of five for 23 yards before leaving the game in the second quarter. Backup Sean McLaughlin entered the game and hit five of eight passes for 58 yards.

While the fortunes of South Dakota did not improve in the second half, the homestanding NDSU added two scores. The Bison moved ahead 28-3 in the third quarter, scoring on a Stauss to Malone touchdown pass with 6:40 to play. Then, NDSU culminated their scoring late in the fourth quarter when Stauss connected with Burrell on a seven-yard scoring toss with just 5:06 to play.

McLaughlin finished 13-of-23 for 159 yards and two interceptions. Senior wide receiver Matt Taylor had six receptions for 76 yards and junior wideout Chris Mikkelsen had three catches for 47 yards. Mikkelsen, who also had four kickoff returns for 111 yards, now has 100 career receptions.

Defensively, junior defensive back Garrett Hartwig had 12 tackles, including seven solo stops. Senior linebacker Josh Gassen had eight stops and five solo tackles.

Next for South Dakota is a home date with North Dakota on Senior Day at the DakotaDome, Saturday. Nov. 8. The Coyotes will honor its 12 seniors with gametime set at 2 p.m.

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