By Amanda Germundson
Fargo, ND — It was fall in the Dakotas and the atmosphere was ripe for a football rivalry!
The no. 1 ranked team in the Football Championship Subdivision, the North Dakota State Bison (4-0) defeated the no.3 (and fellow Missouri Valley Conference rival) South Dakota State Jackrabbits 21-17 at Gate City Bank Field to take back the Dakota Marker Trophy.
Listen to how LOUD the North Dakota State Bison fans were today! They had the FARGODOME ROCKING today as they beat #SDSU to win the #DakotaMarker #ncaaf #NDSU
Posted by The Ball Out on Saturday, 29 September 2018
19,000 raucous fans of both teams took on the Fargodome to participate in the biggest event in all of the Dakotas.
The Bison, reigning FCS National Champions, sought their shot at revenge at the Jackrabbits for beating them the past two years to hoist the Dakota Marker Trophy. But this year, North Dakota State had something else in mind.
From kickoff, it was a dogfight. With every play, a potential new decible record was set. The fans displayed more power and noise than the nearby Fargo Jet Center.
South Dakota State started out fast, taking six minutes off the clock to score a touchdown early. It was up to North Dakota State to respond and that would come late in the first quarter, with a big drive engineered by quarterback Easton Stick. Stick connected with Ben Ellefson for a 17-yard score to even the game and the slug fest continued. Bison wide receiver Darrius Sheppard (5 rec, 118 yds) caught a 41-yard TD pass from Stick to take a 14-7 lead into halftime.
The momentum swung in favor of South Dakota State University with an early third quarter field goal from Chase Vinatieri to bring the score to 14-10. The Jackrabbits had more to show, as a 61-yard TD run by Isaac Wallace put the Jackrabbits up 17-14 late in the third quarter. But the Bison had a response.
The Bison, at home, knew they had to organize a drive to take the lead. Led by Stick, the Bison went on an eight play, 80-yard drive. A five-yard rushing TD by Stick put them on top with a 21-17 lead, that the Bison would hold onto.
Stick, who finished 9-of-20 for 185 yards and 63 rushing yards, was eelated about the victory.
“It’s good to get the trophy back,” Stick stated.
South Dakota State quarterback Taryn Christion completed 19 of 29 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown. Running back Isaac Wallace had ninecarries for 110 yards and a touchdown.