North Dakota State vs. Iowa: Score and Twitter ReactionSeptember 17, 2016
North Dakota State's dominance of college football at all levels continued Saturday, with the Bison upsetting No. 13 Iowa 23-21 at Kinnick Stadium thanks to Cam Pedersen's 37-yard field goal as time expired.
Trailing 21-14 entering the fourth quarter, North Dakota State scored nine unanswered points. The Bison cut Iowa's lead to 21-20 on Chase Morlock's seven-yard touchdown catch with less than four minutes to play, but a two-point conversion attempt failed.
Iowa's following drive was awful. The Hawkeyes went three-and-out and lost 10 yards in the process. North Dakota State's subsequent drive went 46 yards to set up Pedersen's heroics on the fifth play.
North Dakota State opened the scoring when MJ Stumpf intercepted a pass from Hawkeyes quarterback C.J. Beathard and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown. That came five plays after Brandon Snyder intercepted Bison quarterback Easton Stick deep in Iowa territory.
Defense was the name of the game for North Dakota State. The group limited Iowa's offense to just 231 yards. The Hawkeyes had four drives that gained zero or negative yards and just 12 total first downs.
Because Iowa's offense was unable to get any momentum, its defense was on the field for nearly 37 minutes.
North Dakota State didn't try anything fancy on offense, yet its running game was tremendous at helping control the clock. Six players combined for 239 rushing yards on 49 carries.
King Frazier led the way with 99 yards on 16 carries and scored one touchdown that helped even the score at 14 in the third quarter.
Stick didn't have a great day throwing the ball, but he made up for it on the final drive with a 29-yard run on first down that got the ball to the Iowa 37-yard line. He got another first down with a 10-yard pass to RJ Urzendowski on the next play.
Two plays later, Pedersen got to be the hero and move North Dakota's record this season to 3-0.
The win will go down as an upset, but North Dakota State is no stranger to dominating its opponent in any venue.
Bryan Fischer of College Football Talk provided the numbers showing how impressive the Bison's resume against FBS teams has been this decade after Saturday's win:
North Dakota State had some fun on Twitter with ESPN's Football Power Index after the game was over:
Bison head coach Chris Klieman has continued the program's rich tradition that started with Ron Erhardt in 1966. The Bison have won five straight FCS national titles entering 2016, in addition to their perfect record against FBS programs since 2010.
Knowing all of that, Dr. Saturday of Yahoo Sports posed a good question to Iowa that also serves as a warning to every other FBS program in the country:
Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk didn't have a question, but rather a bold statement to emphasize where North Dakota State ranks among the nation's best college football programs:
It's hard to find fault with that argument. FCS teams are meant to serve as sacrificial lambs to FBS squads while collecting nice paychecks, yet North Dakota State has been clearing every obstacle in its way recently.
This wasn't just another win over a major conference also-ran such as Kansas in 2010 or Minnesota in 2011. Iowa had a perfect regular season and was 27 seconds away from likely playing in the College Football Playoff last year before falling to Michigan State in the Big Ten title game.
Football analyst Benjamin Allbright took a shot at Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz following the loss:
Ferentz has had a fascinating tenure at Iowa. He's 129-88 in 18 seasons with two Orange Bowl appearances, including a win in 2009, and a Rose Bowl appearance last year. There's nothing wrong with that resume in a vacuum, but last year's 12-2 campaign came after a five-year run in which he went a mediocre 34-30 with no bowl victories since 2010.
Iowa rewarded Ferentz with a new contract extension earlier this month that goes through the 2025 campaign and pays him $4.5 million per season.
SB Nation's Ryan Nanni was one of many people to have fun with Ferentz's new contract on Twitter after Iowa's loss:
The jokes may be mostly about the Hawkeyes now, but North Dakota State is the real story coming out of this game.
The Bison have been a powerhouse program in FCS for decades, even getting ESPN's College GameDay to set up shop on campus multiple times since 2013. Defeating a team ranked in the Top 15 of both major polls only adds to their legacy as they seek another national title in 2016.
Klieman would have been second-guessed for a long time if North Dakota State's two-point attempt late in the fourth quarter failed, but the coach was not concerned about his team getting one more shot.
"If we didn't make it I thought we could stop them," Klieman said, via ESPN.com. "I thought our offense was kind of wearing them down."
Stick echoed his coach's sentiments, adding that the team had no doubt about Pedersen's ability to step up in those final moments.
"As an offense we preach: if we get the chance to end the game with the ball in our hands, we have to do it. We believe in Cam and we knew if we got the ball down there he could do it," Stick said, via ESPN.com.
Ferentz did not try to make excuses after the game, instead giving a lot of credit to North Dakota State's program.
“Good teams have identities and they believe in what they do," Ferentz said, via USA Today's Mark Emmert). "Most importantly, the players believe in what they do. I didn't see a weak spot out there. They're really a good football team."
That's what the key takeaway from this game needs to be. North Dakota State is an excellent football team, whether its playing FBS or FCS competition, there is always the feeling this team can compete.
“We told them all week long that we belong," Klieman said, via Emmert. "We belong in the game; we belong in the spotlight." “When you get into a four-quarter, 60-minute game, don’t bet against the guys in that locker room. They know one thing, and that’s how to close and how to win.”
No one can deny North Dakota State knows how to close and win.