The Bison made big plays early and often on Senior Day Saturday afternoon. North Dakota State sent 14 seniors out in style, blasting Missouri State 55-0. The Bison started strong, forcing a sack/fumble/score no the third play of the game. Defensive end Greg Menard was unblocked on a blitz call from defensive coordinator Matt Entz, sacked Missouri State QB Brodie Lambert and defensive end Caleb Butler recovered in the end zone.
In a game that was never expected to be competitive the Bison coaching staff was successful in creating several memorable moments for the outgoing senior class. The Bison dominated all day long, leading 41-0 at half and outgaining the Bears 601-171 over the course of the game.
Zach Vraa made another circus catch in the back left corner of the end zone to set the record for receiving touchdowns at NDSU. The Bison called a specific play for Vraa from the one-yard line and NDSU Head Coach Chris Klieman said at the post game press conference that if the touchdown hadn't been allowed on replay, they would have run the same play again.
Freshman quarterback Easton Stick was efficient yet again, throwing four touchdown passes on just 20 attempts. The Bison had another lopsided run/pass ratio. North Dakota State ran the ball 48 times for 412 yards.
The Code Green defense provided plenty of fireworks themselves. The Bison recovered two fumbles and caught an interception. North Dakota State continuously brought pressure as well, producing three sacks including two from defensive end Greg Menard. Menard looked as healthy as he has all season, with his first multi-sack game since October 10th against Northern Iowa.
The Bison also provided senior fullback Jedre Cyr with his first career carry. It was of the rumbling/stumbling variety and it went for eight yards. The best moment of the afternoon was senior quarterback Carson Wentz's first career snap at tailback. Third string quarterback Cole Davis gave the ball to Chase Morlock on a quick handoff, but that wasn't the point. After the play Klieman slowed Wentz's exit from the field, imploring the Bison faithful to give the Bismarck native a standing ovation.
The win solidified a fifth consecutive Missouri Valley Football Conference title. "Five consecutive Valley Championships is hard to do" explained Klieman. This MVFC championship was perhaps the sweetest for Klieman and the coaching staff. No Bison team since 2010 had suffered more than one loss. Certainly no Bison team had suffered an injury as significant as the loss of Wentz after the loss to South Dakota.
It's likely that the Bison also earned a first round bye and a top two seed. BisoNation will be glued to their televeision sets on Sunday to see if they or McNeese State will host each round of the FCS playoffs.