Bison Turn Back Bulldogs in Quarterfinals, 27-9

NDSU Bison Athletics
NDSU Bison Athletics(
Published: Dec. 10, 2022 at 6:51 AM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Bison Athletics) - No. 3 seed North Dakota State defeated sixth-seeded Samford 27-9 in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Football Championship on Friday, Dec. 9, before a crowd of 11,825 at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

NDSU improved to 11-2 overall and advanced to next week’s semifinals where the Bison will either host No. 7 seed Incarnate Word or travel to No. 2 seed Sacramento State. Samford, champion of the Southern Conference, finished its season 11-2 overall.

The game was scoreless until late in the second quarter when NDSU tight end Joe Stoffel caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Cam Miller. The Bison got a 44-yard field goal from Griffin Crosa on the final play of the half to take a 10-0 lead at intermission.

NDSU opened the second half with a seven-play, 82-yard drive capped by TK Marshall’s 7-yard touchdown run to take a 17-0 lead, and the Bison stretched it to 24-0 late in the third with Miller’s 1-yard TD run.

Samford, which ranked sixth in the FCS averaging 306.5 passing yards per game, got a 28-yard Zach Williams field goal in the fourth quarter and a 40-yard touchdown pass from Michael Hiers to Chandler Smith with 3:53 left for its only points of the game.

Kobe Johnson led seven Bison ball carriers with 15 attempts for 48 yards and Marshall finished with 11 carries for 47 yards.

RaJa Nelson caught four passes for 39 yards and Miller was 15 of 18 passing for 194 yards.

Hiers went 22-for-30 passing for 227 yards all in the second half for the Bulldogs. Smith had 120 yards on six catches, Kendall Watson made eight catches for 73 yards, and DJ Rias had nine receptions for 48 yards. NDSU cornerback Courtney Eubanks made a career- and game-high 10 tackles to lead the Bison defense, which held Samford to 8 of 17 on third down. Javier Derritt had two of NDSU’s five sacks and safety Dawson Weber made his third interception of the season.