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Turnovers key in NDSU's victory at Missouri State

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.--North Dakota State was the decisive victor in the turnover margin against Missouri State on Saturday, Oct. 8, and because of that cruised to a 27-3 college football win over Missouri State.

North Dakota State's Easton Stick takes a long pass against Missouri State in Springfield, MO on October 8, 2016. Bruce Stidham / Special to The Forum
North Dakota State's Nate Jenson gathers some yardage against Missouri State in Springfield, MO on October 8, 2016.
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-North Dakota State was the decisive victor in the turnover margin against Missouri State on Saturday, Oct. 8, and because of that cruised to a 27-3 college football win over Missouri State.

The Bison recovered two fumbles and intercepted two more in improving to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. The No. 1-ranked team and the five-time defending champion in FCS did it by holding the Bears to 176 total yards in front of 10,462 fans at Plaster Stadium.

"Our defense did a great job of getting takeaways," said Bison head coach Chris Klieman.

It wasn't easy. It rarely is at Plaster. The Bison offense struggled to convert scoring opportunities created by their defense, but got enough production and some breathing room in the fourth quarter after Aaron Steidl returned a fumble 20 yards.

Running back King Frazier scored from 22 yards on the next play to make it 20-3.

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"Drops and turnovers can kill an offense," said MSU quarterback Brodie Lambert. "Obviously you can't win a game with four turnovers. That's something I need to work on. We can execute and work on our focus and go back to work and have a better week next week."

Cornerback Jalen Allison's interception in the second quarter led to an Easton Stick touchdown pass that broke a 3-3 tie. Stanley Jones recovered a fumble in the second quarter and Robbie Grimsley added an interception in the final quarter.

"We emphasize turnovers every week," said linebacker Matt Plank. "We've been lacking at it but now to get out of this one with four-the emphasis has been working in practice."

NDSU put it away for good after Jaylaan Wimbush blocked a Bear field goal attempt.

The Bison marched 72 yards the other way getting runs in big chunks, with Frazier scoring from the 4-yard line with 5:17 remaining in the game.

Really, the Bison defense had only one leak all day-the Bears got a 50-yard field goal after marching downfield on the game's first drive. After that, it was mostly a series of three-and-outs for the MSU offense and eventually the Bison offense cashed in.

A 38-yard Cam Pedersen field goal early in the second quarter tied it at 3-3. Three plays later, Allison picked off a Lambert pass at the MSU 21-yard line, which led to a 21-yard touchdown pass from Stick to Darrius Shepherd in the corner of the end zone.

That play came on third-and-10. Another turnover, Jones' recovery, had NDSU in business again at the MSU 26. But three plays lost 18 yards. The change in field position, however, led to a 21-yard Pedersen field goal with 27 seconds left in the half and the Bison took a 13-3 lead to the locker room.

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"It's a simple game, to protect the football and do the little things that we're supposed to do," said Missouri State head coach Dave Steckel.

Related Topics: FCS FOOTBALLEASTON STICK
Jeff would like to dispel the notion he was around when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, but he is on his third decade of reporting with Forum Communications. The son of a reporter and an English teacher, and the brother of a reporter, Jeff has worked at the Jamestown Sun, Bismarck Tribune and since 1990 The Forum, where he's covered North Dakota State athletics since 1995.
Jeff has covered all nine of NDSU's Division I FCS national football titles and has written three books: "Horns Up," "North Dakota Tough" and "Covid Kids." He is the radio host of "The Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack" April through August.
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