(STATS) - It's hard to overshadow an Eastern Washington-Montana matchup in the Big Sky Conference, but North Dakota left no doubt Saturday.
The No. 17 Fighting Hawks held on to first place by handing Weber State its first conference loss, 27-19 at the Alerus Center in Grand Forks.
UND (7-2, 6-0) has been playing the season with a "Leave No Doubt" mantra after they were one of the last two teams not to get an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs last November. They've followed up two close losses to open the season with seven straight wins.
John Santiago left no doubt when he opened the game with a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but the Fighting Hawks had to come from behind after trailing 13-7 at halftime. Brady Oliveira scored on a 17-yard run and Noah Wanzek threw a 2-yard touchdown to Brad Heidlebaugh in the third quarter before Reid Taubenheim kicked two field goals in the fourth.
"I'm really proud of our team again today. We knew this was going to be a tough game for us," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "Give a lot of credit to Weber State, they made it very difficult to run the football."
Weber State's Jadrian Clark threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns, but committed four turnovers as the Wildcats (5-3, 4-1) saw their five-game winning streak end. UND's Cole Reyes had two interceptions.
STATS FCS TOP 25 SCHEDULE
Saturday, Oct. 24
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No. 1 Sam Houston State 66, Texas Southern 17
Sam Houston jumped out to a 28-0 first-quarter lead in improving to 8-0 with the nonconference win. Wide receiver Davion Davis dominated with 184 yards and three touchdowns, while Jeremiah Briscoe passed for 325 yards and five TD.
No. 2 Jacksonville State 47, No. 23 Eastern Illinois 14
The Gamecocks (7-1, 4-0) earned their 21st straight Ohio Valley Conference win since 2013 as Eli Jenkins passed for two touchdowns and ran for another one.
No. 3 Eastern Washington 35, No. 16 Montana 16
EWU senior Cooper Kupp caught three of Gage Gubrud's four touchdown passes, finishing with eight receptions for 140 yards. The two also teamed up for a 54-yard pass by Kupp. The Eagles (7-1, 5-0) are a half-game behind North Dakota in the Big Sky standings. As Montana (5-3, 2-3), dropped its second straight game, Brady Gustafson was 45 of 63 for 398 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
No. 4 North Dakota State 24, Northern Iowa 20
The five-time reigning FCS champion Bison (7-1, 4-1 Missouri Valley) built a 21-6 lead and held on behind a defense that intercepted UNI's Eli Dunne four times (safety Tre Dempsey had two picks). Lance Dunn rushed for 118 yards on 23 carries.
No. 5 The Citadel 45, East Tennessee State 10
The Citadel (8-0, 6-0 Southern) rushed for 427 yards and five touchdowns, led by Cam Jackson's 124 yards and two scores on seven carries. With a win over Samford next Saturday, the Bulldogs would clinch at least a share of a second straight conference title and an automatic bid to the playoffs.
Illinois State 38, No. 7 South Dakota State 17
Illinois State ended South Dakota State's four-game winning streak by intercepting Taryn Christion three times, including La'Darius Newbold's 92-yard return for a touchdown. Christion finished 33 of 63 for 430 yards and two touchdowns to wide receiver Jake Wieneke, who caught 10 passes for 173 yards. SDSU is 5-3 overall and 4-1 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
No. 8 James Madison 84, Rhode Island 7
Junior quarterback Bryan Schor was nearly perfect in completing 21 of 22 passes for 309 yards and five touchdowns, and JMU (7-1, 5-0) set the FCS season high for points. Daniel Schiele caught three passes for 30 yards - each for a touchdown.
No. 9 Charleston Southern 49, Bucknell 28
The Buccaneers improved to 5-2 as quarterbacks Shane Bucenell and London Johnson accounted for three touchdowns each. Bucenell (238 yards of offense) threw for three scores, while Johnson rushed for two and passed for one.
No. 10 Chattanooga 38, Western Carolina 25
Richardre Bagley rushed for 126 yards and scored three touchdown to help Chattanooga (8-1, 6-1 Southern) overcome Detrez Newsome's 277 rushing yards and two touchdowns for WCU. Alejandro Bennifield passed for two touchdowns in the win.
No. 12 North Carolina A&T 42, Florida A&M 17
With its fifth straight win, A&T (7-1, 5-0) moved atop the MEAC standings with idle North Carolina Central. Tarik Cohen carried the ball 17 times for 145 yards and three touchdowns, including an 83-yarder that was his 11th score over 70 yards in his four-year career.
No. 13 Western Illinois 35, South Dakota 34
Sean McGuire threw a 2-yard touchdown pass Joey Borsellino with 32 seconds remaining and Nathan Knuffman added the PAT to lift Western Illinois (6-2, 3-2). USD is coached by Bob Nielson, who led the Leathernecks last year and was the Missouri Valley Conference coach of the year. Lance Lenoir became the Valley's all-time leader in receptions while catching six passes for 111 yards and a touchdown.
No. 14 Cal Poly 59, Sacramento State 47
The Mustangs (6-2, 4-1 Big Sky) had 676 yards of total offense, including 527 on the ground. Joe Protheroe (168 yards, two total touchdowns) and Kori Garcia (146 yards, one touchdown) led the rushing attack.
No. 15 Youngstown State 13, Indiana State 10
Darien Townsend's 79-yard punt return for a touchdown with 9:19 remaining in the fourth quarter provided the winning score for the Penguins (6-2, 4-1 Missouri Valley), who are seeking their first playoff appearance since 2006
No. 18 Coastal Carolina 48, Presbyterian 17
Jah-Maine Martin and Kenneth Daniels rushed for 120 and 100 yards, respectively, and two touchdowns each to power Coastal (6-2), which will finish its final season on the FCS level with four home games next month.
No. 19 Central Arkansas 45, Southeastern Louisiana 10
Hayden Hildebrand was 21 of 27 for 207 yards and three touchdowns as UCA (7-1, 6-0) kept pace in the Southland Conference race. In gaining four turnovers, the Bears held the ball for 40 minutes, 6 seconds.
Mississippi State 56, No. 20 Samford 41
Samford sophomore Devlin Hodges impressed in Starkville, going 42 of 69 for 468 yards and four touchdowns, although he threw three interceptions. Karel Hamilton (14 receptions, 213 yards, two touchdowns) and Kelvin McKnight (13-115-1) were Hodges' go-to receivers. The Bulldogs return to the FCS level with a visit to unbeaten The Citadel next Saturday.
No. 21 Grambling State 70, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 0
Grambling's DeVante Kincade completed 23 of 26 passes for 457 yards and six touchdowns, including three to Chad Williams (eight receptions, 236 yards). The Tigers (6-1, 5-0) are tied with Southern for first place in the SWAC West Division.
New Hampshire 43, No. 22 Stony Brook 14
UNH (6-3, 5-1) handed Stony Brook (5-3, 4-1) its first loss in CAA Football by forcing five turnovers, including Prince Smith Jr.'s 43-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter. Wildcats quarterback Trevor Knight threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another. Stony Brook hadn't allowed a touchdown in 10 quarters entering the game.
No. 24 Harvard 23, Dartmouth 21
Quarterback Joe Viviano had a touchdown run and pass in the first quarter, and Ivy League co-leader Harvard (6-1, 4-0 Ivy) ran out the final 2 1/2 minutes after Dartmouth pulled with 23-21. It was the Crimson's 13th straight win in the series.
Murray State 38, No. 25 Tennessee State 31
One week after upsetting Eastern Illinois on the road, Murray State (3-5, 3-2 OVC) returned home to top Tennessee State (5-3, 2-2). KD Humphries was 27 of 35 for 398 yards and five touchdowns.
No. 14 Cal Poly (5-2, 3-1 Big Sky) at Sacramento State (1-7, 1-4), 9 p.m.
No. 6 Richmond (7-1, 4-1 CAA) and No. 11 Villanova (6-2, 4-1 CAA)