Bison holds off Incarnate Word and earns a trip to FCS Championship Game 10 – InForum

FARGO – North Dakota State Safety Dawson Weber saved the day Friday night.

The senior safety’s interception with less than 90 seconds remaining helped the Bison preserve a 35-32 victory against Incarnate Word in the NCAA Division I FCS semifinals before 12,569 fans at Gate City Bank Field in the Fargodome .

“The ball seemed to be in the air for 30 minutes,” said Weber, who finished with two interceptions and a fumble recovery.

NDSU earned a berth in the FCS title game for the 10th time in the last 12 seasons and another trip to Frisco, Texas. The Bison trailed by 16 points in the first quarter before rallying for the win. Bison running back Kobe Johnson rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns on 15 attempts.

“We’ll get back to where we should be,” Weber said.


North Dakota State’s Dawson Weber intercepts an Incarnate Word pass in the final moments of their FCS semifinal championship football game on Friday, December 16, 2022 at the Fargodome.

Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co.

“Incredible determination from our football team,” added Bison head coach Matt Entz. “Worth”.

The Cardinals and Bison took turns building on the momentum throughout all four quarters.

“Two powerhouses throwing punches back and forth,” Incarnate Word head coach GJ Kinne said.

Incarnate Word quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. completed 30 of 46 passes for 282 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 80 yards and 2-of-21 touchdowns.

The Cardinals moved the ball to the Bison 33-yard line with less than two minutes to go, but the 6-foot-2 Weber popped up and intercepted Scott’s deep shot at the NDSU 18-yard line with 1 minute, 13 seconds remaining. . The bison ran out the clock from there.

“It didn’t work out for us this time,” said Scott, who is one of three top finalists for the Walter Payton Award. “I can’t make that pitch as a veteran. That depends on me.

For the second straight season, the Bison had a dramatic late interception to help seal the victory in the semifinals. A year ago, cornerback Destin Talbert had a one-handed interception in the end zone with about three minutes left in the fourth quarter to help preserve a 20-14 victory against James Madison.

“Knowing that Christmas is canceled now is very exciting,” Weber said with the FCS title game scheduled for Jan. 8 in Frisco.

Johnson scored on a 49-yard touchdown burst for a 24-16 lead with 12 minutes, 56 seconds left in the third quarter. That capped a 74-yard drive that took four plays on the opening drive of the second half and set the stage for a hectic final 30 minutes.

North Dakota State fans cheer for a Kobe Johnson touchdown against Incarnate Word during their FCS semifinal championship football game on Friday, December 16, 2022 at the Fargodome.

Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co.

The Cardinals cut the Bison lead to 24-22 on Scott’s 1-yard TD run with 7:05 remaining in the third quarter. NDSU stopped the 2 point conversion attempt. The drive covered 75 yards and lasted 15 plays.

Scott added a 1-yard TD run on the ensuing UIW drive for a 29-24 lead with 2:59 left in the third quarter. That 61-yard drive took five plays.

Bison kicker Griffin Crosa responded with a career-long 47-yard field goal to cut the UIW lead to 29-27 with 13:03 remaining in the fourth quarter. Cardinals kicker Carson Mohr made a 41-yard field goal for a 32-27 lead with 9:38 left in the fourth quarter.

“I’m proud of our guys and how hard they fought,” Kinne said.

Johnson kicked off a 31-yard TD run for a 35-32 lead with 8:11 remaining. The 65-yard drive took three plays. Tight end Joe Stoffel caught receiver Braylon Henderson’s 2-point conversion on a squirt sweep. That score held up with the help of Weber’s late exploits.

“That’s the best team offensively I’ve ever seen,” Entz said of Incarnate Word.

UIW scored on their opening drive. Receiver Darion Chafin caught a 1-yard pass from Scott to give the Cardinals a 7-0 lead with 10:37 remaining in the first quarter. That capped a 75-yard drive that took 10 plays.

UIW continued to roll on their next drive, taking a 14-0 lead after a Jarrell Wiley 15-yard touchdown run with 7:42 left in the first quarter. That drive covered 85 yards, took six plays and lasted less than 60 seconds.

The Cardinals built a 16-0 lead after a safety with 7:33 remaining in the first quarter. NDSU started the drive at their own 2-yard line and the UIW brought down Bison running back TK Marshall in the end zone on the first play of that drive.

“I think that’s what really got us going,” said Bison quarterback Cam Miller, who rushed for 132 yards and scored on 18 attempts. “People didn’t get upset when we were down 16-0.”

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Incarnate Word’s Lindsey Scott Jr. searches for a loose ball after being interrupted by North Dakota State’s Loshiaka Roques during their FCS semifinal championship football game on Friday, December 16, 2022 at the Fargodome.

Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co.

Crosa connected on a 27-yard field goal to cut the Cards’ lead to 16-3 with 2:15 left in the first quarter. UIW missed a punt that NDSU covered at the 2-yard line, but a Bison holding penalty knocked a Marshall TD run off the board.

Johnson added a 4-yard touchdown run to cut the UIW lead to 16-10 with 4:46 left in the first half. That capped a 93-yard drive that took eight plays. Miller helped set up the scoring with a 35-yard run that brought the ball to the Cardinals 41-yard line.

Miller scored on a 2-yard run to give the Bison a 17-16 lead with 47 seconds left in the first half. Jayden Price helped set up that scoring with a 41-yard punt return that moved the ball to the UIW 17.

The Cardinals finished with 539 yards in 94 plays, but UIW had four turnovers while NDSU had no turnovers.

“It’s hard to win games like that,” Bison defensive end Spencer Waege said of giving up 500-plus yards in 94 plays. “Bend don’t break.”


Incarnate Word quarterback Lindsey Scott Jr. leaves the field dejected after the NCAA FCS semifinals at the Fargodome on Friday, December 16, 2022.

David Samson/The Forum

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