Top-seeded and No. 1-ranked North Dakota State had its best offensive output in six years and marched to a 48-14 victory over No. 11-ranked Coastal Carolina in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs Saturday, Dec. 14, before a crowd of 18,219 at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
NDSU's 623 yards of total offense was the most since 2007 against Illinois State, and the Bison had seven players combine for 424 rushing yards - the most in 17 years since a 1996 win over Minnesota State Mankato. Sam Ojuri led the charge with 162 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.
Bison quarterback Brock Jensen accounted for four touchdowns including runs from the 10 and 1 and a pair of passing TDs to Zach Vraa from 31 yards and Kevin Vaadeland from the 2. Jensen finished 14 of 21 passing for 187 yards to seven different receivers led by Vraa's 78 yards on five catches.
Adam Keller's 26-yard field goal on NDSU's first possession opened the scoring and the Bison opened a 31-0 lead before Coastal Carolina capped a 76-yard drive with a three-yard TD run by Lorenzo Taliaferro. Keller's 48-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter was one shy of his career long and gave NDSU a 34-7 halftime lead.
NDSU nearly doubled up Coastal Carolina in time of possession 39:45 to 20:15. CCU's average starting position was its own 21-yard line thanks in part to NDSU punter Ben LeCompte, who averaged 59.2 yards on eight punts and the coverage team which limited returner Nicollo Mastromatteo to five yards on two attempts.
Middle linebacker Carlton Littlejohn led the Bison defense with nine tackles and free safety Christian Dudzik had his first two-interception game with picks on back-to-back possessions in the fourth quarter - one near midfield and the other in the end zone for a touchback.
Taliaferro ran 11 times for 53 yards and quarterback Alex Ross went 13 of 26 passing for 185 yards. Receiver Matt Hazel caught eight passes for 91 yards including a twisting 20-yard touchdown reception midway through the third quarter that made it a 34-14 game.
North Dakota State advanced to the FCS semifinals for the third straight year and will host the winner of New Hampshire and Southeastern Louisiana at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20.