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Bison Punish Penguins, Win 35-17 in Youngstown

by Elliot Hoekstra

The Herd hit the road to Youngstown, Ohio to take on the Penguins of Youngstown State with a chance to seal a third consecutive Missouri Valley Football Conference Championship.

Youngstown State found the scoreboard first when Kurt Hess hit Andre Stubs for a 6-yard touchdown reception to take a 7-0 lead.

The Bison responded quickly with a six play 74-yard drive with Andrew Bonnet rumbling into the endzone from 3-yards out to tie it up 7-7 in the 1st quarter.

After a Penguin punt, the Herd grinded out a fourteen play drive to take their first lead of the day with a Brock Jensen pass to Ryan Smith making it 14-7.

Youngstown State tightened up the game right before halftime with a 24-yard field goal from Joey Cejudo heading into the locker room with the score 14-10.

The Penguins started with the ball out of halftime, but it was the Bison that took the momentum after a fumble recovery deep in Youngstown territory.

The Herd made the most of the turnover when Jensen struck with his third touchdown pass of the afternoon finding Kevin Vaadeland for a 21-10 lead early in the 3rd quarter.

It was déjà vu on the following possession as NDSU continued to march over the Penguins when Jensen hit Vaadeland again in the endzone for a 28-10 lead and Jensen’s fourth touchdown pass.

Just as it looked like the Bison would be coasting to another victory, a fumble gave Youngstown State new life and they capitalized with a 24-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Tanner Garry to Nate Adams.

But NDSU quickly put out the fire when Christian Dudzik picked off Garry at the Bison 28-yard line.

Nine plays later, Jensen crossed the goal line on a quarterback keep pushing the Bison lead to 35-17 with just 6:10 to play.

The Penguins last gasp of life in the game fell short at the 2-yard line when C.J. Smith broke up a fourth a goal pass from Youngstown quarterback Garry sealing the win and a third straight Missouri Valley Football Championship for the Bison.