FARGO, N.D. (NDSU Athletics) -- Easton Stick rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns and No. 1-ranked North Dakota State scored 30 second-half points to beat fifth-ranked South Dakota State 44-21 in the semifinals of the NCAA Division I Football Championship on Friday, Dec. 14.
North Dakota State (14-0) advanced to its seventh FCS national championship game, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The Bison will face the winner of Saturday's semifinal between Eastern Washington and Maine.
Stick scored on runs of 5 and 34 yards in the first half as NDSU took a 14-7 lead by halftime. The Bison rolled for 382 yards of total offense in the second half and scored on all five second-half possessions before running out the clock on their final drive.
Sophomore running back Seth Wilson sparked the Bison right out of the locker room. He went 78 yards on the first play of the second half and Bruce Anderson scored from the 1 to give NDSU a two-touchdown lead.
Anderson caught a 14-yard TD pass and scored on a 41-yard run to make it 35-14 late in the third quarter. After SDSU struck with a 52-yard TD pass from Taryn Christion to Cade Johnson, the Bison got a Cam Pedersen 32-yard field goal and Stick's 28-yard TD run for the final margin.
Pedersen, who converted five PAT kicks in the game, finished with 391 career points and broke the NDSU career record of 386 set by quarterback Jeff Bentrim in 1986. Stick finished 12 of 15 passing for 169 yards and Darrius Shepherd caught four passes for 76 yards.
Middle linebacker Dan Marlette made eight tackles to lead a Bison defense that registered six tackles for loss, five quarterback hurries and six pass breakups. Stanley Jones and Derrek Tuszka each had sacks and cornerback Jalen Allison broke up three passes.
Christion finished 10 of 26 passing for 180 yards and running back Pierre Strong, the Missouri Valley Football Conference Freshman of the Year, rushed 20 times for 135 yards including a 30-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
A crowd of 18,286 was on hand at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome for the final NDSU home game under head coach Chris Klieman, who was named the next head coach of Kansas State earlier in the week. It was the sixth largest playoff crowd in Fargodome history.