The one that gave the Bison a lead they never gave up in the 21-13 win over Illinois State at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome on Saturday afternoon was handed over by second student Jayden Price. He did it in special teams.
Price returned an 85-yard punt for a touchdown early in the first quarter.
“Everyone had a key block,” Price said. “It wasn’t just me. I grabbed the ball, looked up and saw that everyone was connected (with blocks) and I just missed one person. was everything, I knew I had to run as fast as possible and I ended up in the end zone. I had 100 percent confidence in everyone with their blocks. “
The tie for the third longest in school history, tying Ryan Smith’s return in 2013 against Missouri State. The record is 98 yards by Fritz Hanson in 1934.
“It was an exceptional game,” said Bison head coach Matt Entz. “We have spent a lot of time training on the special teams. We are very proud of that.”
Jayden Price of North Dakota State enters the end zone during a punt return against Illinois State on Saturday, March 13 at the Fargodome. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Illinois State had a chance to tie the game early in the fourth quarter before Bison defensive lineman Spencer Waege got in my way.
The Redbirds reduced the Bison’s lead to 14-13 after running back Tyler Pennigton pushed into the end zone on a 1-yard run with 11 minutes and 59 seconds left in the fourth quarter. In the point after shot attempt that followed, Waege got a penetration down the middle of the scrimmage line and blocked Aidan Bresnahan’s kick to keep the NDSU lead at one point.
“You can see the soul of a football team by the effort they put in on the PAT block,” Entz said. “If you have a team that isn’t doing very well, it’s probably not very good.”
Bison kicker Garret Wegner also had a big game with five punts, averaging 51.8 yards per kick. He also had four punts inside the 20-yard line.
“He’s one of the best bettors in the country in my opinion because of the situation,” Entz said.
The Bison had a blunder with the special teams late in the first half after the Redbirds recovered a punt that hit NDSU’s Cole Jacob, who was blocking as the ball bounced and hit his leg. The ISU recovered at the 42-yard NDSU line with 1:06 left in the half, but couldn’t capitalize on the error.
“All of a sudden it becomes a stressful moment at the end of half time,” Entz said. “We can’t have such poor communication.… We have to do a better job.”
Christian Watson of North Dakota State passed off Illinois State on Saturday, March 13 at the Fargodome. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
NDSU switched kickers after Jake Reinholz landed his two extra kicks in the first half. Entz did not elaborate on the injuries after the game, but said he was hopeful Reinholz would be back for the University of North Dakota game next Saturday.
Wegner took care of the kickoff in the second half and Griffin Crosa landed the extra kick in the fourth quarter.
NDSU starting left goalie Nash Jensen left the game in the second half. Senior Cordell Volson played his third position of the season, moving from a right tackle to Jensen’s guard post. Redshirt rookie Jake Rock came in on the right tackle.
The Bison avoided an apparent injury to star wide receiver Christian Watson late in the second quarter when Watson blew himself up on a tackle with 3:43 left before half-time. It appears Watson received a blow to the head, but NDSU training staff were watching his leg. He limped off the field, but came back full speed in the second half.
Jasir Cox of North Dakota State greets fans after the Illinois State soccer game on Saturday, March 13 at the Fargodome. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
NDSU TV play-by-play announcer Brian Shawn has returned to the football broadcast booth for the first time since last October’s Dome game against Central Arkansas.
Shawn, 42, underwent surgery for colon cancer in early February after being diagnosed on January 29. He missed some NDSU men’s and women’s basketball shows, which he does for Midco Sports Network, and failed to call the first three games of the spring football team. season. Lee Timmerman, usually Shawn’s color analyst, has taken over the play-by-play functions.
Shawn has worked in the studio for Midco in the meantime, but Saturday’s game was his first live event since the Bison basketball team hosted Denver in mid-January.
“I’m really excited to be back and to feel really good,” Shawn said before kick off. “It’s been a crazy month, but I’m glad I took this step and will be getting ready for the next one.”
The game’s first penalty (which was not denied) was a crucial NDSU offside when Illinois State lined up for a punt in the fourth quarter. … The security of freshman Ty Satter of Fargo Davies changed the uniform numbers from 13 to 32.… NDSU was favored by 12.5 points, according to online betting site Bovada.