North Dakota State beats Georgia Southern 23-20
by Staff Reports
A 40-yard pass from backup quarterback Ezayi Youyoute to Zach Walker on 4th-and-11 moved the ball into Bison territory. The Eagles were able to set up a 50-yard field goal try with 31 seconds left.
But Drew Ruggles, a Georgia Southern soccer player who joined the team this week, had his kick blocked by Carlton Littlejohn to seal the Bison win.
The Eagles finished with a 10-4 record. North Dakota State (13-1), the defending FCS champion, moves on to the finals, where they will play the winner of Sam Houston State and Eastern Washington. Results of that game were not available at presstime
Jerick McKinnon posted his seventh consecutive 100-yard rushing game with 168 yards and a touchdown on 31 carries, and the junior quarterback threw for 91 yards and a touchdown. Dominique Swope finished with 77 yards on 14 carries and caught a 49-yard touchdown pass, while Youyoute was 3-for-3 for 68 passing yards.
Jensen completed nine passes for 76 yards and ran 10 times for 58 yards and a touchdown. Sam Ojuri logged 71 yards and a touchdown on six carries, and John Crockett rushed 13 times for 60 yards and a score.
Trailing 20-16, the Bison took over at their own 47-yard line with 5:49 left in the game after the Eagles were flagged for a personal foul following a punt.
Jensen rushed twice for 33 yards, and the Eagles were flagged for roughing the quarterback to move the ball to the GSU 12-yard line.
Facing a fouth-and-3 from the GSU 5-yard line, the Bison called timeout to talk over their fourth-down play. Georgia Southern countered with a timeout once the Eagles saw the formation but had to take its final timeout because of substitution issues.
Jensen scored the winning touchdown on a quarterback keeper, and Adam Keller added the extra point to put the Bison on top 23-20.
“It was a great football game; we just didn’t make enough plays down the stretch to win it,” said Georgia Southern head coach Jeff Monken. “We had opportunities. We had the two foolish penalties on one drive and had a chance on fourth down and just couldn’t get the stop we needed.”
J.J. Wilcox, GSU’s starting safety who played on the offense his first three seasons, punched it in from 4 yards out on a fourth-and-1 to open the scoring in the game.