FCS Top 25: Top-ranked Bison win OT classic
(STATS) - Potential changes in how the FCS playoff field is selected may decrease the number of rematches this year.
But everybody will probably wish for a rematch between top-ranked North Dakota State and No. 8 Eastern Washington after the five-time reigning FCS champion Bison won a 50-44 overtime classic over the Eagles at the Fargodome on Saturday.
NDSU safety Tre Dempsey intercepted Eastern Washington quarterback Gage Gubrud on the second play of overtime to set up Lance Dunn's 25-yard touchdown run around the left end on the Bison's first play of their possession.
"That's a great team that we just played," NDSU coach Chris Klieman said. "I'm so proud of our guys for staying the course. We knew it was going to be a back-and-forth game. And ultimately we got the stop we needed on defense - what a great play by Tre - and then I think we finally wore 'em down with the power play."
NDSU (2-0) has won both of its home games in overtime after having never previously gone to the extra time at the Fargodome since the NCAA instituted overtime in 1996. The win also was the Bison's 44th straight at home against a non-conference opponent.
The Missouri Valley Conference power was seeking a little revenge for the only previous meeting between the two teams - Eastern Washington's 38-31 OT win in the 2010 FCS playoff quarterfinals. That is the only loss in the Bison's FCS playoff history, and after EWU went on to win the FCS title that season, they have won the last five championships.
The rematch six years later was worth the wait. Eastern Washington (1-1) played the second half and overtime without injured All-America wide receiver Cooper Kupp, who left with a right shoulder sprain after catching two first-half touchdowns. They gave him 61 TDs for his career, setting the Division I record.
But Gubrud kept pressure on NDSU's young secondary, turning to wide receivers Stu Stiles and Kendrick Bourne as he threw for 450 yards and four touchdowns.
The visitors from the Big Sky Conference trailed by double digits four times - 21-7, 28-17, 35-24 and 41-31 - and never led until the freshman Tamarick Pierce plowed in from 1 yard out for a 44-41 advantage with 4:32 left.
The Bison responded with a 15-play, 71-yard scoring drive, which Cam Pedersen capped with a 28-yard, game-tying field goal with 42 seconds remaining.
Eastern Washington had a chance to win in regulation, but Jordan Dascalo missed badly on a 49-yard field goal with six seconds remaining.
"Anytime you just play against great competition and against great players, it helps you as you go further in your season," EWU coach Beau Baldwin said. "That's especially true with our non-conference schedule heading into our conference schedule, which is always tough. We can take a lot from this, and we will."
The two teams racked up 1,093 yards of offense (EWU 556; NDSU 537). Gubrud added 49 yards and a touchdown on the ground while Stiles (eight receptions, 169 yards, one touchdown) and Bourne (eight receptions, 133 yards) were his favorite targets. NDSU quarterback Easton Stick, now 10-0 as a starter, passed for a career-high 257 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 60 yards and a score, while Dunn had 14 carries for 128 yards and two touchdowns.
"I was really pleased with Lance and how hard he ran the football," Klieman said, "how he hit the holes, playing with a lot of confidence, and it showed on that last run."
All-America linebacker Nick DeLuca, who suffered a right shoulder separation in the season opener against Charleston Southern, returned to the NDSU lineup to post a team-high 14 tackles and 40-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The schedules stay tough for both teams next Saturday. NDSU will try to extend a five-game winning streak against FBS opponents when it plays at Big Ten power Iowa. EWU, which defeated Washington State a week ago, will play its home opener against Northern Iowa, another FCS Top 10 team.
STATS FCS TOP 25=
No. 2 Richmond (2-0) 34, Norfolk State (1-1) 0
Richmond limited Norfolk State to 122 yards while posting the shutout.
Kyle Lauletta was 15 of 27 for 216 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. David Jones scored on a 68-yard punt return.
No. 14 Montana (2-0) 20, No. 3 Northern Iowa (1-1) 14
Montana won the second-biggest Big Sky-Missouri Valley matchup of the day, building a 20-7 lead and holding on to improve to 6-0 all-time versus UNH..
Jerry Louie-McGhee scored on an 81-yard punt return as the Grizzlies struggled to only 206 yards on offense. Tyvis Smith rushed for 130 yards and a touchdown for UNI, which had beaten Big 12 member Iowa State last weekend.
UNI's Karter Schult tied the school record with 5.5 tackles for loss.
LSU (1-1) 34, No. 5 Jacksonville State (1-1) 13
Jacksonville State quarterback Eli Jenkins passed for 248 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another 82 yards in the loss. Since 2014, the Gamecocks have only lost in the regular season to FBS opponents (three times).
No. 6 Chattanooga (2-0) 34, Presbyterian (0-2) 0
Quarterback Alejandro Bennifield had five total touchdowns to fuel Chattanooga. He completed 11 of 15 pass attempts for 279 yards and four touchdowns and scored once on the ground.
Xavier Borishade caught three of the touchdown passes for 65, 35 and 68 yards, totaling 168 yards.
The Mocs enjoyed a 496-196 advantage in yards.
Florida State (2-0) 52, No. 7 Charleston Southern (1-2) 8
Playing without 14 players, including 10 starters, Charleston Southern didn't mount any challenge against the nation's No. 3-ranked FBS team. The Buccaneers fell to 0-18 all-time against FBS opponents.
The defending Big South Conference champs have suspended 32 players for one game each for violating NCAA rules by using financial aid meant for books to purchase other items at the school's bookstore. The suspended starters on Saturday included the top two running backs, four offensive linemen and the two safeties.
With quarterback Kyle Copeland lost to a season-ending knee injury, London Johnson made the start. He was ineffective before Robert Mitchell came on to go 7 of 20 for 142 yards with a 57-yard touchdown pass to Kameron Brown in the second quarter.
No. 9 South Dakota State (1-1) 56, Drake (0-2) 28
South Dakota State's new Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium opened to an easy Jackrabitts win before 15,171. Quarterback Taryn Christion accounted for five total touchdowns (four passing, one rushing). He was 24 of 28 for 228 yards.
All three of wide receiver Jake Wieneke's receptions went for short touchdowns.
No. 10 Illinois State (2-0) 9, Northwestern (0-2) 7
Having missed on a field goal and an extra point earlier in the game, Sean Slattery kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired and Illinois State notched a big road win.
The Redbirds led 6-0 at halftime on George Moreira's 6-yard touchdown run in the final minute of the first half and it held up until Northwestern went ahead with 9:10 to play.
Jake Kolbe completed 30 of 41 passes for 287 yards with two interceptions. All-America wide receiver Anthony Warrum caught nine passes for 116 yards.
UL-Lafayette (1-1) 30, No. 11 McNeese (1-1) 22
Once bitter rivals, McNeese lost to UL-Lafayette in the first meeting since 2007. The Cowboys held the ball for nearly 37 minutes despite falling.
Dylan Long scored on a pair of short runs and Ryan Ross had 118 yards on 21 carries.
No. 12 James Madison (2-0) 56, Central Connecticut State (0-2) 21
JMU cruised for the second straight week as quarterback Bryan Schor threw for three touchdowns and running backs Cardon Johnson (121 yards) and Khalid Abdullah both had two scores.
The schedule gets tougher next Saturday as the Dukes visit North Carolina.
No. 13 William & Mary (1-1) 24, Hampton (0-2) 14
DeVonte Dedmon caught one of Steve Cluley's two touchdown passes, totaling seven receptions for 168 yards.
Corey Parker and Isaiah Laster both had interceptions in the win.
No. 15 The Citadel (2-0, 2-0 Southern) 19, Furman (0-2, 0-1) 14
The Citadel won another Southern Conference game as Dominique Allen scored on a 1-yard plunge with 2:13 left in the game. Jordan Black ran for the Bulldogs' other two touchdowns.
San Jose State (1-1) 66, No. 16 Portland State (1-1) 35
Portland State self-destructed with six turnovers and San Jose State rolled up 409 rushing yards.
The Vikings' Paris Penn carried the ball 14 times for 137 yards and a touchdown. Despite struggling at quarterback, Alex Kuresa scored on a 78-yard touchdown pass from Josh Kraght.
No. 17 Coastal Carolina (2-0) 49, Florida A&M (0-2) 10
De'Angelo Henderson rushed for three touchdowns to set the Division I record with a TD in 28 straight games. He finished with 128 yards on 13 carries.
Quarterback Josh Stilley also accounted for three TDs as Coastal Carolina continued to maul MEAC competition, improving to 22-1 all-time.
No. 18 Western Illinois (2-0) 34, No. 19 Northern Arizona (0-2) 20
Steve McShane's 62-yard touchdown run in the third quarter broke a 13-13 tie and Western Illinois went on to win its Top 25 matchup. McShane finished with 155 yards on 24 carries, also scoring on a 4-yard run.
Sean McGuire passed for 336 yards and two touchdowns, dueling with fellow Northern Arizona sophomore Case Cookus, who was 26 of 33 for 263 yards and two touchdowns. Lance Lenoir had a career-high 231 receiving yards for WIU.
West Virginia (2-0) 38, No. 20 Youngstown State (1-1) 21
The game was tied 14-14 before West Virginia scored 17 unanswered points in the third quarter. Skyler Howard threw five touchdown passes for the Mountaineers.
YSU quarterback Ricky Davis and wide receiver Alvin Bailey connected for a 74-yard touchdown pass.
No. 22 Villanova (1-1) 26, Lehigh (0-2) 21
Javon White scored on a 2-yard run with 4:20 left as Villanova erased a 21-20 deficit. The senior finished with 155 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.
Zack Bednarczyk and Aaron Forbes added 92 and 87 yards, respectively, as the Wildcats totaled 396 yards on the ground.
No. 23 North Carolina A&T (2-0) 39, Kent State (0-2) 36, 4 OTs
Kent State went ahead 36-33 on Shane Hynes' 42-yard field goal in the fourth overtime, but Oluwafemi Bamiro and Denzel Keyes connected on a 15-yard touchdown pass to lift N.C. A&T to its first win over an FBS opponent.
Running back Tarik Cohen rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown and had nine receptions for 128 yards.
The game was tied 17-17 after four quarters.
No. 24 New Hampshire (1-1) 39, Holy Cross (1-1) 28
Dalton Crossan rushed for 199 yards and two touchdowns and finished with 262 all-purpose yards in New Hampshire's inaugural game before 13,242 at Wildcat Stadium.
UNH overcame the passing of Holy Cross senior Peter Pujals, who was 42 of 64 for 427 yards and three touchdowns against two interceptions. He also rushed for a touchdown.
Bowling Green (1-1) 27, No. 25 North Dakota (0-2) 26
North Dakota pulled within 27-26 on Keaton Studsrud's 3-yard touchdown pass to Stetson Carr with 13 seconds remaining. The Fighting Hawks went for the 2-point conversion and the win, but Studsrud's pass to Carr in the corner of the end zone skipped off the receiver's fingertips.
John Santiago carried the ball 18 times for 119 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
No. 4 Sam Houston State (1-0)
No. 21 Colgate (0-1)