BOZEMAN – Hunter Poncius blocked Casey Kautman’s extra point attempt in overtime and North Dakota State escaped with a 35-34 win over sixth-seeded Montana State on Saturday in the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs.
The Bison eliminated the Bobcats for the fourth time in five seasons, including the 2021 championship game. The win was their FCS-record 46th, breaking a tie with Georgia Southern, for their 14th straight trip to the quarterfinals, where they will face Missouri Valley Football Conference rival South Dakota. The Coyotes won the first meeting 24-19.
The loss ended MSU’s 26-game home winning streak in only the fourth road game the Bison have had to play in the playoffs, not counting championship games on neutral fields.
North Dakota State, a nine-time national champion, ran the ball five times in overtime with Cam Miller scoring on a 3-yard quarterback keeper.
Montana State responded with a 25-yard run by Scottre Humphrey around the right end. However, Poncius, a 6-foot-8, 315-pound backup offensive tackle got enough push and his hands up to win the game.
The Bison (10-3) went 89 yards in nine plays, tying the game on a 29-yard run by TK Marshall with 2:33 to play.
Montana State (8-4) got to the NDSU 36 behind backup quarterback Sean Chambers, who replaced Tommy Mellott, who was injured on a third-down run on the previous possession. The threat ended when Chambers, playing on an injured ankle, was sacked on consecutive plays, NDSU’s only sacks.
Mellott was 13 of 17 for 204 yards passing and two touchdowns and ran for 151 yards and two scores.
TaMerik Williams ran for a career-high 162 yards and two touchdowns for the Bison.
Williams scored on a 75-yard run on the first play of the second half to put the Bison up 21-17 and two plays later Mellott scored on a 76-yard run. MSU took the lead on Mellott’s 9-yard pass to Clevan Thomas Jr. after Chambers took the snap midway through the third quarter.
Kautzman missed field-goal attempts from 33 and 49 yards on MSU’s first two possessions of the game.
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