North Dakota State and Montana State will meet on the football field for the first time since December 4th, 2010, a day that left an imprint on both football programs.
— Dom Izzo (@DomIzzoWDAY) July 22, 2017
This game is lost in the pantheon of other Bison victories over the last eight years, but its significance can’t be understated. NDSU entered that game off a 43-17 win over Robert Morris, the first playoff win for the Bison in the D-1 era. That earned them a date with Montana State, the Bobcats were the four seed for the playoffs that year, they won the automatic qualifier out of the Big Sky.
NDSU struggled on offense that season, Brock Jensen was a redshirt freshman, who missed six games that season with a broken collarbone. He was sharp in the win over Robert Morris, but Jensen was knocked out of this game early in the 2nd quarter on a run where he was leveled by a Bobcat defender. Jensen had a concussion and Jose Mohler came off the bench to replace him.
It was a tie game at 7 at halftime, but the Bison rushing attack was getting in gear. DJ McNorton scored from three yards out and the Bison grabbed a 14-7 lead. Montana State responded scoring ten straight points as the Bobcats grabbed a 17-14 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter.
After that, the Bison offensive decided to take over. McNorton scored on the next drive and the Bison never looked back. NDSU’s defense then got a sack and forced a fumble on its next possessions, and NDSU took advantage with McNorton scoring touchdowns on the first play of both drives, one from 38 yards, the other from 52. It was 35-17 Bison and no one knew what happened. Mike Sigers, an electric runner added another touchdown and the blowout was complete.
NDSU 42, Montana State 17.
The Bison ran for 376 yards and they completed just five passes. NDSU forced four turnovers and Montana State didn’t know what happened.
What did happen was the Bison blueprint for playoff success was printed that day. Yes, NDSU lost the next week at Eastern Washington, but the seeds for future titles was planted that day. It shouldn’t be forgotten when NDSU takes the field Saturday again with Montana State.