Bison Pull Away From Nicholls in Second Half for FCS-Record 34th Straight Win

FARGO, N.D. (NDSU Ahtletics) -- North Dakota State set a new Football Championship Subdivision record with its 34th consecutive victory Saturday, Dec. 7, pulling away from 19th-ranked Nicholls in the second half for a 37-13 win in the second round of the NCAA Division I Football Championship.

Trey Lance was 10 of 16 passing for 169 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 11 times for a game-high 88 yards and one touchdown for the Bison, who improved to 13-0 with their 26th straight home win before a crowd of 15,690 at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

Nicholls (9-5) managed just 265 yards of total offense - a season-low in 12 games against FCS opponents. Julien Gums rushed for 77 yards and quarterback Chase Fourcade was 11 of 15 passing for 94 yards and one score with two interceptions that both led to NDSU scores.

The Colonels got a 23-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half to pull within 14-13, but they wouldn't cross midfield again. Interceptions by NDSU safeties Michael Tutsie and James Hendricks on the next two drives turned into 10 points as the Bison defense stiffened.

Tutsie returned his seventh career pick 25 yards to set up a 32-yard Will Cardinal field goal four plays later. Hendricks returned his 13th career interception 48 yards to the Nicholls 13, and Lance connected with tight end Noah Gindorff on a 3-yard TD pass that put the Bison ahead 24-13.

Lance added a 6-yard TD run and Dimitri Williams scored on a 3-yard run to close out the scoring. NDSU finished with 434 yards of total offense.

North Dakota State had six players combine for 265 rushing yards including 55 by wide receiver Phoenix Sproles, who scored his first career rushing touchdown on a reverse up the right sideline on the final play of the first quarter to give NDSU a 7-3 lead.

Nicholls responded with a 12-play, 83-yard scoring drive for its only touchdown of the game, a 25-yard pass from Fourcade to Dai'Jean Dixon, who finished with four catches for 66 yards.

NDSU senior wide receiver Jimmy Kepouros scored his first career touchdown on a 43-yard pass and run that gave the Bison a 14-10 lead before halftime.

Linebacker Jackson Hankey made a career-high 13 tackles and Tutsie made 10 stops to lead the Bison defense.

North Dakota State will host Missouri Valley Football Conference foe Illinois State (10-4) in the quarterfinal round either Friday, Dec. 13, or Saturday, Dec. 14. The Redbirds are 6-2 on the road after beating eighth-seeded Central Arkansas 24-14 in the second round.

Tickets for the NCAA quarterfinal game will go on sale at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, online at GoBison.com/tickets and the Bison Ticket Office will be open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the south lobby of the Sanford Health Athletic Complex. Unclaimed season tickets will go on sale at 7 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11.