October 04, 2014

MACOMB, Ill. (AP) John Crockett passed for the tying touchdown and ran for the winning score Saturday in North Dakota State's 17-10 comeback victory over Western Illinois.

The Bison defense held on fourth-and-3 at the NDSU 36 with 1:07 to play, allowing their offense to run out the clock for their Football Championship Subdivision-record 29th straight win. NDSU has given up just 16 points in the fourth quarter over its last 24 games.

Trailing 10-3 in the fourth quarter, Crockett took a handoff from Carson Wentz, rolled to his right, then threw back across the field to a wide-open Wentz for the score. After forcing a punt, the Bison got the ball back at WIU's 35 and Crockett capped the drive with a 7-yard TD run.

Crockett rushed 22 times for 79 yards.

Western Illinois made it tough for the Bison to establish a running game.

''We didn't play exceptional,ly well . give Western a bunch of credit,'' NDSU coach Chris Kliemen said. ''We weren't able to run the football and that's our DNA. We have to be able to run the football.''

Wentz rushed for 39 yards and was 19 of 29 for 240 yards passing. RJ Urzendowski caught a career-high seven passes for 114 yards.

Wentz guided the Bison into scoring position on the game-winning driving. After taking over on NDSU's 33, he hit Andrew Bonnet for a big gain into Western Illinois territory. Later, Wentz scrambled for a first down on third-and-10.

''Give Carson some credit because he hung in there and took some shots,'' Klieman said.

J.C. Baker ran for 175 yards on 21 carries and a score for WIU (2-4, 0-2 Missouri Valley).

The Bison (4-1, 0-1) capped their opening drive with a 20-yard field goal by Adam Keller, but a 66-yard run by Baker in the second quarter set up the tying 30-yard field goal by Nathan Knuffman.

Keller missed a 54-yard attempt with 40 seconds left in the first half that would have given the Bison the lead.

Instead, Baker's 34-yard TD run with 11:39 in the third quarter gave the Leathernecks a 17-10 lead. WIU got a break when the Bison botched a punt return and the Leathernecks recovered at the NDSU 35.

Baker broke the line of scrimmage and raced to the end zone nearly untouched.

Western Illinois rushed for 253 yards, but passed for just 68 yards. Trent Norvell was 10-for-21 and underthrew an open receiver behind the defense in the closing seconds.

The home team has never won in the series, which is six games old.

''I'm extremely proud, especially of the defense in the second half,'' Kliemen said. ''All road wins are good and all league wins are good.''

The Bison have won 11 straight games after a bye week and 17 straight true road games.

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