FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Dominic Gonnella ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns and Jalen Bussey ran for 143 yards and North Dakota State rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to smash Eastern Washington University 42-20 on Saturday in an opening-round game of the FCS playoffs.
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The Bison (7-2) advance to the quarterfinals to face No. 2-seed Sam Houston State in Huntsville, Texas on May 1.
Eastern Washington (5-2) scored three touchdowns in its first three possessions and built a 20-7 lead. In those first three drives the Big Sky Conference’s at-large bid piled up 217 yards of offense scoring on drives of 85, 53 and 79 yards. Eric Barriere’s 3-yard slant pass to Andrew Boston made it 20-7 for the Eagles with 10 minutes before halftime.
The Bison then put an end to EWU’s upset bid establishing its running game and containing EWU’s offense. Drives of 68 and 64 yards resulted in a 1-yard scoring run by Hunter Luepke and a 4-yard pass from Cam Miller to Noah Gindorff respectively gave the Bison a 21-20 halftime advantage.
North Dakota State increased pressure on Barriere and proceed to hold the Eagles to 90 offensive yards on their last six possessions.
Barriere finished with 246 yards passing and a touchdown.
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