FARGO, N.D., Oct. 27 - Top-ranked North Dakota State scored four third quarter touchdowns to break open a close game and the Bison went on to claim a 52-17 Great West Football Conference win over Southern Utah Saturday night. NDSU stayed perfect in improving to 8-0 and 2-0 in GWFC play while the Thunderbirds dipped to 0-8.
After falling behind 14-0 in the first period the Thunderbirds rallied as Cody Stone took over at quarterback in the second quarter and on his second play from scrimmage found Jeremy Edwards running a short crossing pattern. Stone hit Edwards in stride and 79 yards later the Thunderbirds were on the scoreboard, albeit down 14-7 after NDSU taken a 14-0 first period lead.
The 79-yard pass was the longest completion of the season for the Thunderbirds, bettering the 53-yard Wes Marshall to Nick Miller completion at Montana State.
The next time SUU got the ball, however, Stone wasn't as fortunate as another pass intended for Edwards was intercepted at the SUU 15 yard line, setting up a 15-yard Pete Paschall run to stake the Bison to a 21-7 lead.
SUU struck back on its ensuing possession. Stone found Miller in a seam of the Bison zone on a 43-yard completion at the NDSU nine-yard line, and two plays later Stone evaded the rush, scrambled to his right and found Edwards in the back of the end zone to pull the Thunderbirds within 21-14.
NDSU drove the length of the field before the end of the half to tack on a field goal for a 24-14 halftime advantage.
The Bison dominated the third period, however, out-gaining the Thunderbirds 169 yards to 10 while outscoring them 28-3 to put the game away.
SUU took the opening kickoff of the second half but NDSU forced a punt, then after a 35-yard Shaman Washington punt return put the ball at the SUU 16, the Bison took just three plays to score as Washington ran six yards around the left end for a 31-14 edge.
The Bison also scored on a 15-yard Pete Blincoe run, a 25-yard pass from Walker to Ryan Parsons and a two-yard Pat Paschall run in the third.
"We played well in the first half, for the most part, but all game long we gave them the field position and you can't do that against a good team," SUU offensive coordinator Jared Martin said. "We gave up a couple of returns and had an interception on a tipped ball that should have been a catch deep in their territory."
NDSU's scoring drives in the second half went just 14, 61, 68 and 14 yards.
Southern Utah wound up with 295 yards of offense but just 74 in the second half, while NDSU had 406 yards, 206 in the second half.