McFeely: Presumed dead by some (ahem), Bison rally for another trip to Frisco – InForum

FARGO – Lindsey Scott Jr. hit Taylor Grimes with a one-pass missile along the end zone’s baseline and the officials raised their arms in the air to signal a touchdown. The Incarnate Word offense remained on the field setting up for a 2-point conversion to make the score 24-3, a three-touchdown game.

There were 11 minutes and 27 seconds left in the second quarter of Friday’s Football Championship Subdivision semifinal at the Fargodome.

And the state of North Dakota was dead.

Bison’s defense faltered after Scott’s lightning attack on her. NDSU’s offense was two paces slow against Word’s aggressive defense and had a total of 9 yards.

Dead, I tell you.


North Dakota State fans celebrate as Incarnate Word’s Isaiah Paul sits dejected after the NCAA FCS semifinals at the Fargodome on Friday, December 16, 2022.

David Samson/The Forum

It led to its intrepid columnist having one (another?) “Dewey beats Truman” moment. Look up what that means, kids. The tweet came out shortly after 7 p.m.

“This one is in Fargo.”

It was moments later that the refs decided to review Grimes’ alleged touchdown. Replays showed that he may have shot the ball before crossing the baseline.

Indeed. The play was cancelled. No touchdown. The ball was fielded back at the 1-yard line. Word would go for it on the fourth from there. The game was still a yard from over.

This led to a hasty tweet in response to the previous one: “Not so fast mate.”

It doesn’t matter. The original tweet lives in infamy.

What followed for the next couple of hours was one of the great rallies in NDSU football history, set in one of the wildest games the old Fargodome had ever seen.


North Dakota State’s RaJa Nelson, top, celebrates with Jake Lippe following their defeat of Incarnate Word in their FCS semifinal championship football game on Friday, December 16, 2022, at the Fargodome.

Michael Vosburg/Forum Communications Co.

After being down 16-0 before the 12,569 fans who braved the roads (and complacency) could settle into their seats, the Bison staged a furious comeback to win 35-32 and earn another trip to Frisco, Texas, for a chance at his 10th national championship.

This might be the most unlikely trip yet.

The game had clips of everything, including clips of previous playoff games in the dome against Georgia Southern, Coastal Carolina, South Dakota State, James Madison, Northern Iowa, and every other classic you can think of.

Dead in the second quarter.

And “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas” shook the building after quarterback Cam Miller took a knee to freeze it late in the quarter.

That was a change for the ages.


Dawson Weber of North Dakota State celebrates victory over Incarnate Word in the NCAA FCS semifinals at the Fargodome on Friday, December 16, 2022.

David Samson/The Forum

“Grit,” said Bison head coach Matt Entz, when asked to put perspective on this season that has seen a stellar cast of injured players and skeptics hovering over his team’s grave. “Grit. They have a chip on their shoulder. Come back in mid-October and I think some people wrote them off and I think they got mad.”

There were more than a few who ruled out NDSU on Friday when their offense was fading, Miller was struggling, Scott was dealing with a stunned defense. It seemed that some on the Incarnate Word bench, including the coaches, were shouting choice words on the field at the Bison as the Cardinals won 16-0.

If Grimes doesn’t juggle Scott’s pass, there’s a chance the game’s history could be written differently.

But he did. And instead of talking about the mighty Bison missing Frisco, we’re looking back at Miller’s gutsy performance and Kobe Johnson’s three touchdowns despite being banged up and all the injuries and a fumble Word says he recovered and a punt. that hit a Word player and the Cardinals decision to kick a field goal and Jayden Price’s big punt return and Dawson Weber’s game-saving interception and NDSU’s fourth down late in the fourth quarter and …

You get it.

Oh, and did we mention glorious Bison offensive lineman Cody Mauch fiddling as the game clock ticked down to 0:00 and fans who bothered to show up shouted another semifinal win for the home team?

It was exhausting to watch. It’s exhausting writing about it.

On? Did it end when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

The Incarnate Word did not finish the job. He left a pulse, as weak as it could have been. And as every other FCS team has learned since 2011, you don’t give the Bison a chance.

The Word headed home to San Antonio, Texas after the game ended their season.

NDSU heads to Texas in three weeks, back to its second home in Frisco, after all, their season isn’t over yet.

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