Bison dig deep into playbookCARBONDALE, Ill. – North Dakota State isn’t known for delving deep into its playbook. But the Bison came up with a trick play when they desperately needed something to happen Saturday afternoon before 9,059 fans at Saluki Stadium.
By: Jeff Kolpack, The Dickinson Press
CARBONDALE, Ill. – North Dakota State isn’t known for delving deep into its playbook. But the Bison came up with a trick play when they desperately needed something to happen Saturday afternoon before 9,059 fans at Saluki Stadium.
It was the turning point in NDSU’s 9-3 win over Southern Illinois, which kept the fifth-ranked Bison unbeaten in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision.
Trailing 3-0, Bison running back Sam Ojuri picked up NDSU’s initial first down of the game with 5:05 remaining in the third quarter. On the next play, Ojuri took a handoff up the middle like Bison running backs had been doing most of the day. Only this time, he stopped and shoveled an underhanded flip back to quarterback Brock Jensen.
Jensen then heaved a bomb Ryan Smith’s way, and the sophomore receiver ran under the pass for a 58-yard gain.
“That was a momentum changer,” Jensen said. “It came right after our first first down and Ryan did a good job of tracking it down with his speed.”
Bison head coach Craig Bohl called it a timely play and credited offensive coordinator Brent Vigen.
“I was watching the line of scrimmage like everybody else,” said SIU head coach Dale Lennon. “It was a good call by NDSU. They needed that one play to get their blood flowing.”
**Bison punter has his
best day in new job
After four games of average performances, senior punter Matt Voigtlander delivered when he was needed Saturday. The former running back in his first year as a punter averaged 43.7 yards on nine punts and stuck a couple late in the game deep in Saluki territory.
“Special teams are huge in low-scoring games,” Voigtlander said. “We had really good coverage all day. We’re definitely improving in the punting game.”
NDSU tied the game at 3-3 in the third quarter and got the ball back after SIU went three-and-out. The drive stalled near midfield, but Voigtlander pinned the Salukis at the 11.
The Bison stopped the Salukis on three plays, and they turned that defensive stop into a 10-yard touchdown pass to Matt Veldman with 6:51 left in the game. Voigtlander’s second late-game punt stuck the Salukis at their 9 with under two minutes remaining.
“That’s an important part of the game,” Voigtlander said.
** Dahl takes NFL break
to watch his old team
The Bison had an NFL fan on hand Saturday. Former safety Craig Dahl took advantage of the bye week with the St. Louis Rams and came down to watch his old team.
“Hats off to the guys for fighting through this,” he said.
Dahl keeps constant tabs on the Bison through the Internet. He watched part of the University of Minnesota game between Saturday meetings with the Rams.
“I’m proud of them,” he said.
Etc. etc. etc.
The only apparent injury to NDSU was a possible concussion to receiver Trevor Gebhart in the second half. … NDSU’s third interception by linebacker Chad Willson sealed SIU’s fate with 2:08 left in the game. “They ran a snag route and we had been going over it in practice,” he said. “I was able to make my read.
Kolpack is a sports reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.