FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota State scored the game’s first 31 points before Coastal Carolina found the end zone late in the first half, and the Bison rolled from there for a 48-14 win inside the Fargodome in the teams’ FCS quarterfinals clash.
It was an anti-climactic end to the most successful season in program history for the Chants and a reminder that as far as they’ve come, there is still a gap to close if they are to reach their ultimate goal.
“We know where we’ve got to be at in order to be a national championship team,” sophomore quarterback Alex Ross said afterward. “We took a lot away from this game, and we know where the bar’s set and we know where we’ve got to be at next year.”
The top-seeded Bison (13-0) held a 623-281 advantage in offensive yards and move on to play New Hampshire in the semifinals next week.
And Coastal (12-3) closes the book on a breakout season that saw the Chants set school records for wins and several major offensive feats while reaching the quarterfinals for the first time.
They just happened to run into the best team in the land Saturday.
“The bottom line is North Dakota State outplayed us,” Coastal coach Joe Moglia said. “... I was a little disappointed we didn’t execute better, but I wasn’t surprised that North Dakota State executed as well as they did. That wasn’t a surprise.”
Senior running back Sam Ojuri led North Dakota State with 162 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The hosts’ 623 yards — including 424 rushing — is the fourth-most Coastal has ever allowed.
But it was that top-ranked Bison defense that left the greatest impact on the game, holding the Chants to nearly 29 points fewer than their season average and more than 210 yards less than their average coming into the day. The 281 yards was less than Coastal had at South Carolina.
|N. Dakota St.||17||17||0||14||—||48|
NDSt—FG Keller 26, 10:15. NDSt—Ojuri 73 run (Keller kick), 6:16. NDSt—Jensen 10 run (Keller kick), 3:38.
NDSt—Jensen 1 run (Keller kick), 9:23. NDSt—Ojuri 4 run (Keller kick), 2:46. CCar—Taliaferro 3 run (Catron kick), :30. NDSt—FG Keller 48, :00.
CCar—Hazel 20 pass from A.Ross (Catron kick), 8:17.
NDSt—Vraa 31 pass from Jensen (Keller kick), 14:53. NDSt—Vaadeland 2 pass from Jensen (Keller kick), 8:42.
Att.—18,219 (at N.DakotaSt.).
|Time of Possession||20:15||39:45|
RUSHING—Coastal Carolina, Taliaferro 11-53, Small 4-18, A.Ross 6-14, Henderson 2-10, Hazel 1-1. N. Dakota St., Ojuri 20-162, Morlock 7-77, Jensen 10-75, Crockett 9-49, Lang 6-40, R.Smith 1-13, Gebhart 1-8.
PASSING—Coastal Carolina, A.Ross 13-26-2-185, Kass 0-1-0-0. N. Dakota St., Jensen 14-21-0-187, Ca.Wentz 1-1-0-12.
RECEIVING—Coastal Carolina, Hazel 8-91, Taliaferro 2-39, Israel 1-46, Sullivan 1-5, Henderson 1-4. N. Dakota St., Vraa 5-78, R.Smith 3-59, Gebhart 2-16, Vaadeland 2-7, Ojuri 1-25, Woods 1-12, Bonnet 1-2.