Bison trample Bearkats 35-3 in FCS semifinals

Down 7-3 at half, it looked like Sam Houston State football had a chance to upset No. 2 North Dakota State on Friday at the Fargodome in Fargo, ND.

Then the second half kicked off.

The Bison were able to take the Bearkats out of the FCS playoffs in 35-3 fashion to advance to the FCS Championship in Frisco on Jan. 10.

The start of the second half, the Bison were in complete control showing dominance on both sides of the ball.

North Dakota just made enough big plays that the Bearkats could not account for and made more defensive stops than SHSU. The Kats’ defense could only do so much with no help from the other side of the ball.

The Bison’s two touchdown scorers in the third quarter took all the energy that the Bearkats had away. NDSU’s running back John Crockett’s 55-yard rushing touchdown left damage in the Kats’ defense.

Crockett finished with 166 yards and three touchdowns for a Bison offense that ran for 219 yards.

SHSU just could not find an offensive rhythm against the Bison’s defense. Sophomore quarterback Jared Johnson’s scrambles and read options just were not cutting it from the more experienced Bison team.

The Bearkats did not stretch the field enough going east and west. Instead they could only go north and south, which is what the Bison’s defense wanted.

The Bison finished the game with 398 total yards and Carson Wentz contributed with 179 passing yards.

Bad penalties were a huge problem for the Bearkats. An SHSU squad that had trouble staying disciplined finished with seven penalties for 57 yards to the Bison’s one penalty for five yards.

It seemed as if SHSU did not come out to play after a successful FCS playoff run. The much-improved Bearkats’ team – after a 1-3 start – completely lost it in the second half.

The sixth-ranked rushing SHSU offense only had 106 rushing yards against NDSU. Leading senior Bearkat rusher Keshawn Hill was held to 26 yards.

The Bearkats and the Bison playoff rivalry started in 2007 when the Bison won 41-38. The second matchup in 2009, the Bearkats defeated the Bison 48-45 in the playoffs. The last two matchups, NDSU owns by defeating Sam Houston in the FCS Championship games in 2011 and 2012.

North Dakota’s introduction on the field brought early momentum before the game even started. The stadium was loud in North Dakota at Gate City Bank Field, which the Bison took the home field advantage in their hands in the first quarter.

The Bison’s wideout, Carey Woods, took a bad hit from a Bearkat defender and was carted off the field to miss the remainder of the game. He was sent to the hospital being in stable condition.

Instead of showing downfall, NDSU scored on that drive from a touchdown scored by Crockett that was their only score in the first half.

It seemed like the team who controlled the time of possession and the energy was going to win the game because both defenses were at its feet. In a loud action packed stadium, it was hard for the Bearkats to hear play calls against one of the most premier defenses in the FCS.

The Kats finish the season 11-5 as the Bison await the winner between No. 1 New Hampshire and No. 5 Illinois State.

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