The North Dakota State University Bison football team started their four straight FCS Playoff appearance on a high note with a 38-7 victory over the Furman University Paladins of the Southern Conference.
Here are my thoughts on the victory for NDSU, their 12th of the 2013 season.
- The Paladins played a great first half. They controlled the clock, did not turn the ball over and converted on three of six third downs.
- The only problem Furman encountered was scoring the ball. Furman was turned away at the one yard line by the NDSU defense early in the second quarter.
- NDSU had three touchdown plays of 50 plus yards this game. One came on a 52-yard pass from Brock Jensen to Zach Vraa and another came on a 53-yard run for Jensen.
- NDSU had two scoring drives of 90 plus yards. Both those drives were capped off by the two 50 plus yard plays by Jensen.
- Marcus Williams showed he was back in a big way by returning an interception 61 yards for a touchdown. In the post game press conference, he was asked if he had any worries about being caught. He responded by saying no, that he knew he was going to score.
- Fans seemed a bit out of it in this game. Possibly due to the fact that it was very cold outside or maybe due to the fact that Furman University is not a well known team.
- Furman University was stopped twice on fourth and goals. Impressive that the Paladins were able to move the ball that well against NDSU but you have to capitalize when in the red zone.
- Ray Early is one heck of a kicker for Furman but was never used since the Paladins were so close to the end zone, they went for touchdowns instead of field goals.
- I think that the field goal before the half was the biggest play of the game for NDSU for two reasons. One, it gave them confidence heading into the locker room and two, going into halftime down three instead of tied can do a lot to damage the psyche. Especially if you played as well as Furman did in the first half.
- Ryan Smith was a do it all type of player today. He had 86 yards receiving and 55 yards rushing. He was a nightmare for the Paladins defense.
- Jensen only threw six times in the entire second half. He completed five of them.
- NDSU ran for 267 yards as a team but did not have a rusher over 90 yards in the game. Jensen led the team with 86 yards rushing.
- Bryan Shepherd and Esley Thorton led the team in tackles today with nine. Thorton, in my opinion, took some big strides forward in his defensive game. Made some big hits and big plays for this defense.
- NDSU will play the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers next week. I will have more on them next week, but the opponent may have NDSU lose a Friday night game. Right now, NDSU vs. Coastal Carolina does not look as good as Towson versus Eastern Illinois.
- The reason why is because A) EIU and Towson feature two Walter Payton Award Finalist in Jimmy Garoppolo for the Panthers and Terrance West for Towson and B) both teams are seeded in the FCS Playoffs. Coastal Carolina is not a seeded team.
- The only reason I see ESPN putting the NDSU game on Friday night on ESPN2 is because NDSU has already drawn national attention from beating Kansas State on Fox Sports 1 earlier in the year and ESPN’s College GameDay coming to Fargo.
You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.