FARGO, N.D.— Top seeded North Dakota State advanced to their eighth straight Division I FCS semifinals with a 35-0 win over eighth seeded Colgate before 16,404 fans at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
In a match-up of the top two scoring defenses in all of Division I FCS, NDSU was the stronger of the two. Colgate came in as top defense before this game.
NDSU (13-0) started where it left off on offense in the 52-10 win over Montana State in last week’s second round. Starting from its 4-yard line after a Colgate punt, it took only four plays for the Bison to go 96 yards. Running back Ty Brooks scored on the final play on a rush from 26-yards out and it was quickly 7-0 Bison.
The Raiders then showed why they were such a highly ranked defense until the later stages of the second quarter.
The Bison made took a 14-0 lead on a two-yard touchdown pass from Easton Stick to tight end Ben Ellefson with 2:27 remaining in the half—the last points before the halftime whistle.
The Bison put the Raiders into a huge hole scoring the first two times they had the ball in the third quarter.
First, a 10-yard touchdown pass from Stick to Darrius Shepherd made it 21-0. The catch moved Shepard into second on the NDSU career list with 179 receptions.
Then after the NDSU defense held the Raiders to three plays-and-out, Bruce Anderson scored on a 42-yard run to put NDSU up 28-0.
“That opening drive of the second half put an end to the game,” said head coach Chris Klieman.
Bison freshman Phoenix Sproles added a 6-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter, the first in his career to give the final score of the game at 35-0.
NDSU pitched their second ever shutout in the Division I FCS playoffs. The other was against another Patriot League team in Lehigh, when they won 24-0 in the quarterfinal round in 2011.
Colgate’s offense had little success, as the Raiders finished with 157 yards and went 1-of-12 on third down conversions.
“Offensively, we just couldn’t help our defense out,” said Colgate head coach Dan Hunt. “Their defense is great, we struggled blocking the defensive ends all day.”
Stick went 14-19 for 205 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Anderson had 12 attempts for 124 yards and 1 touchdown. to lead the Bison offense.
Derrek Tuszka had 2.5 sacks and Jabril Cox lead the team with six tackles to head the Bison defense.
NDSU moves on to host the Division I FCS Playoff semi-final against the winner of South Dakota State and Kennesaw State.