Sep 10, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats quarterback Jayden de Laura (7) against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Arizona Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona rallies past FCS power North Dakota State

Jayden de Laura threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Jacob Cowing with 4:53 left as host Arizona beat the top-ranked FCS team, North Dakota State, 31-28 on Saturday night in Tucson, Ariz.

The Bison (2-1) were forced to punt with 2:55 to go, and Arizona (2-1) gained one first down before running out the clock.

The winning drive came after the Wildcats’ defense stopped the Bison on fourth-and-2 from the Arizona 23 with 8:59 left. Arizona then marched 78 yards on 10 plays, including a fourth-and-1 conversion pass to Cowing from the NDSU 27.

de Laura completed 20 of 28 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown, and he also ran for 50 yards and a score.

North Dakota State’s Hunter Luepke ran for 115 yards and scored three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving), accounting for 180 yards of offense. The Bison ran for 283 yards.

North Dakota State, which has won nine of the past 11 FCS championships, had won six consecutive games against FBS competition, with the last such matchup coming six years ago to the day (Iowa).

Luepke rushed for two scores in the third quarter as North Dakota State took a 28-24 lead.

His second rushing touchdown came on a 38-yarder after he appeared to be stopped for a short gain, but he broke free from arm tackles and emerged through the traffic to score with 2:07 to go in the quarter.

The Arizona defense made a key play in the first half.

With the score tied at 7 in the second quarter, NDSU reached the Arizona 5 before Hunter Echols sacked Cam Miller and forced a fumble, recovered by the Wildcats. Arizona then went 83 yards, capped by de Laura’s 7-yard touchdown run, for a 14-7 lead at the 5:45 mark.

The Bison responded with quarterback Miller’s 2-yard keeper at the end of a 75-yard drive to tie the game with 50 seconds to go before halftime.

That was enough time for Arizona to go 56 yards to set up Tyler Loop’s 36-yard field goal on the last play of the half for a 17-14 lead.

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2022; Frisco, TX, USA; North Dakota State Bison running back Kobe Johnson (4) rushes for a touchdown against the Montana State Bobcats during the first half of the FCS Championship at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

North Dakota State beats Montana State for fourth FCS title in five years

North Dakota State, a winner of three straight national championships from 2017-19, put the finishing touches on what might be the start of a new streak, defeating Montana State 38-10 Saturday to win the FCS title for the fourth time in the past five seasons.

The Bison raced to a 28-0 halftime lead and never looked back.

The Bison (14-1) used their typical dominance on the ground, outrushing the Bobcats 380-156, paced by Kobe Johnson, who had 106 yards on just four carries with a touchdown. Five different players rushed for at least 40 yards for North Dakota State.

Teammates Quincy Patterson ran for 98 yards on 11 carries, and Hunter Luepke rushed 14 times for 82 yards and three touchdowns.

Despite losing regular starting quarterback Tommy Mellott early in the contest, the Bobcats (12-3) outgained the Bison 179-126 in passing yardage thanks to 156 yards and a touchdown from Tucker Rovig.

–Field Level Media

North Dakota State kicker Nathan Whiting warms up his leg during a huddle in the Dakota Marker rivalry game on Saturday, April 17, 2021, at the Fargodome in Fargo.

Dakota Marker 015

North Dakota State’s FCS semifinal streak halted by Sam Houston

North Dakota State’s streak of reaching the FCS semifinals ended at nine with Sunday’s 24-20 quarterfinal loss to Sam Houston State.

The Bison last failed to reach the semis in 2010 when they lost 38-31 in overtime to Eastern Washington in the quarterfinals.

The following season, the streak began as North Dakota State won eight national championships and lost in the semifinals to James Madison in 2016.

Eric Schmid passed for 227 yards and accounted for two touchdowns as the Bearkats (8-0) upended North Dakota State (7-3) at Huntsville, Texas.

Quarterback Trey Lance, who guided North Dakota State to a 16-0 record in 2019, skipped the spring season and was selected third overall by the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL draft on Thursday.

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2020; Frisco, Texas, USA; North Dakota State Bison head coach Matt Entz reacts to a touchdown on a fake field goal in the second quarter against the James Madison Dukes at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

North Dakota State-South Dakota canceled due to COVID

An FCS game between North Dakota State and South Dakota was canceled hours before kickoff Saturday due to COVID-19 issues within the Bisons’ program.

The game will not be rescheduled, the Missouri Valley Conference announced.

The Bison, who saw their FCS-record 39-game winning streak come to an end earlier this season, had a positive test and were doing contact tracing.

North Dakota State (5-1, 4-1 MVC) has won the past three FCS titles and eight of the past nine.

The Bison posted a 34-13 win over rival North Dakota last week that saw them overtake the top spot in the conference standings.

South Dakota (1-3, 1-3) has lost its past three games.

–Field Level Media

Jan 11, 2020; Frisco, Texas, USA; North Dakota State Bison head coach Matt Entz reacts to a touchdown on a fake field goal in the second quarter against the James Madison Dukes at Toyota Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Southern Illinois halts North Dakota State’s 39-game winning streak

Small-college powerhouse North Dakota State saw its FCS-record 39-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday when it was routed 38-14 by Southern Illinois in Missouri Valley play at Carbondale, Ill.

It was the first setback for the top-ranked Bison since a 33-21 road loss to South Dakota State on Nov. 4, 2017. North Dakota State (2-1, 1-1 MVC) has won the past three FCS titles and eight of the last nine.

“We didn’t show up and play very well,” Bison coach Matt Entz said after the loss. “There was not any position group that played well.”

Nic Baker passed for 254 yards and one touchdown in his first career start for the Salukis (2-1, 1-1).

“The talk before the game was that, in life, you just don’t get many opportunities like this,” Salukis coach Nick Hill said. “You get an opportunity to knock off the No. 1 team in the country and do something that leaves a legacy. This game will be recognized for a long time.”

It marks the second time the Salukis have defeated a No. 1-ranked team. They beat host Western Kentucky 31-20 on Oct. 27, 2005.

–Field Level Media

Jan 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Detail view of LSU Tigers helmets after the LSU Tigers defeated the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff national championship game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

From plastic to cloth, NCAA teams mask up

Select NCAA football teams unveiled on Friday how they intend to protect players amid the coronavirus pandemic, showing helmets with clear plastic shields and even cloth masks attached.

The Twitter account of the LSU football equipment staff shared a photo of the Tigers helmet with plastic attached from its top to the bottom of the face mask, commenting, “Adapt. Adjust. Splash shields ready to go.”

Texas did the same, posting a plain white helmet that displayed the shields the Longhorns will wear this season.

“Masked up. Looking a little different this season,” Texas football posted on Twitter.

Some teams have decided to go the cloth route, however.

USA Today reported Friday that Oklahoma is among the schools that have turned to the Performance Award Center of Carrollton, Texas, manufacturer of a cloth mask that attaches to helmets, for protection.

Matt Entz, the head coach of 16-time FCS champion North Dakota State, told WDAY-TV on Friday that the Bison will put the cloth coverings on their helmets.

“If we want to play a football, this is what we have to do,” Entz said. “Our players are wearing masks in the weight room, everywhere they go. This is what we need to do.”

WDAY’s Dom Izzo said North Dakota State is one of eight teams in the Missouri Valley Conference to buy the fabric masks.

–Field Level Media