Bison outrun Dawgs 35-29

Bison outrun Dawgs 35-29

By Thomas Donley, @tdonleyDE

The SIU football team came within six points of knocking off ranked opponents two weeks in a row, but four-time defending Football Championship Subdivision national champion North Dakota State proved to be too much for the Salukis to handle.

The Salukis (3-5, 2-3 Missouri Valley Football Conference) allowed a season-high 397 rushing yards Saturday to No. 6 North Dakota State (6-2, 4-1) in a 35-29 loss.

SIU converted five of 16 third downs and allowed four plays longer than 50 yards to a NDSU team that had one play of 50 yards or longer all season. 

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“We’re going to watch that film and it’s going to sting,” said SIU coach Dale Lennon after the Salukis’ first home loss of the year. “We’re going to see areas that are very correctable, things that we’re capable of doing that we just didn’t do. That’ll be the frustrating thing.”

SIU drove 64 yards on its second possession and started the scoring with a 33-yard field goal by senior kicker Austin Johnson.

The Bison answered quickly. Freshman quarterback Easton Stick’s 60-yard run set up a touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver R.J. Urzendowski two plays later.

North Dakota State drove 59 yards on three plays to start its next possession before SIU redshirt freshman safety Chris Adkins intercepted Stick’s underthrown pass in the end zone.

The Salukis first drive of the second quarter ended with sophomore wide receiver Jimmy Jones’ five-yard touchdown run.  

The Bison forced a punt with nine minutes remaining before halftime. A block-in-the-back penalty negated a return beyond the NDSU 40-yard line and set Stick and company up at their own seven. 

NDSU then drove 93 yards on 13 plays, finishing with a 10-yard touchdown run by junior running back Chase Morlock. 

Senior quarterback Mark Iannotti threw an interception with 1:29 left in the half. The Bison drove to the SIU nine, but freshman Cam Pederson’s field goal attempt missed the mark. NDSU took a 14-10 lead into the half.

In the third, Stick found Urzendowski for a 77-yard touchdown pass to extend the Bison lead to 21-13. 

SIU faced third and 18 on the third play of the ensuing possession. Iannotti’s pass sailed incomplete, but a roughing the passer penalty kept the drive alive, culminating with a 25-yard touchdown pass to Jones. 

Iannotti’s lob to senior wide receiver Israel Lamprakes on the two-point conversion fell incomplete, keeping the score 21-19.

The score remained until the first play of the fourth quarter when NDSU junior running back King Frazier scored on a 50-yard run. 

SIU converted on third and 15 twice on the next drive before stalling at the Bison 11. Johnson’s third field goal of the game cut the lead to 28-22 with 10:26 remaining in regulation.

North Dakota State extended its lead two plays from scrimmage later. A 51-yard run by Frazier, aided by a facemask penalty, set up a three-yard touchdown run by Morlock. The Salukis trailed 35-22 with 9:40 left.

SIU converted two fourth downs on a four-minute, 16-second drive that ended with a two-yard touchdown run by senior quarterback Mark Iannotti with 44 seconds to go in the game. The score cut the Bison lead to 35-29.

Bison senior wide receiver Zach Vraa recoverd Saluki senior kicker Chris Adams’ onside kick, and freshman quarterback Easton Stick kneeled to end the game.

Frazier led all rushers with 177 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.

“[Frazier]’s a good runner,” said Saluki sophomore linebacker Markese Jackson. “You’ve got to bring your feet, wrap and squeeze. He runs through arm tackles.”

Stick added 130 rushing yards. He was 12 for 17 for 138 yards through the air with two touchdowns and one interception. 

Iannotti completed 28 of 45 passes for 277 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Iannotti led SIU with 83 rushing yards.

SIU senior wide receiver Israel Lamprakes caught nine passes for 100 yards, both game-highs. Urzendowski led NDSU with 93 yards and two touchdowns on five catches.

Bison junior inside linebacker Nick DeLuca led all tacklers with 20 stops. Jackson and sophomore safety Kenny James led SIU with 14 tackles.

Four SIU starters went down with injuries in the first half. Senior safeties Anthony Thompson and D.J. Cameron left but returned in the second half. Senior center Garrett Clark and junior right guard Jake Notario did not return.

SIU plays at 1 p.m. Nov. 7 against South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D. 

Thomas Donley can be reached at [email protected] or at 618-536-3307

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