Griz Fall to Defending Champs on Road - News, Sports and Weather

Griz Fall to Defending Champs on Road

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Senior kicker Adam Keller connected on a school-record five field goals to lead the number-ranked North Dakota State Bison to 22-10 win over the fourth-ranked University of Montana Grizzlies Saturday afternoon in front of a loud and partisan crowd of 18,890 fans in NDSU's Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

NDSU, the three-time defending FCS national champion, extended it record winning streak in the division to 28 with the victory.

The Bison (4-0) tacked on three insurance points late in the game (1:43 left), when Keller kicked his record-setting fifth field goal, which gave NDSU its final points of the contest.

NDSU took a 19-10 lead on a 3-yard scoring pass from junior quarterback Carson Wentz to senior tight end Kevin Vaadeland at the 8:22 mark of the third quarter, and that's how the third stanza ended.

Montana (2-2) had reduced the NDSU lead to 12-10 with 52 seconds to go until halftime on a 20-yard field goal by junior kicker Daniel Sullivan – his first career three-pointer for the Griz. The score at intermission was 12-10, Bison.

When Keller connected on his fourth field of the game, a 47 yarder, he gave NDSU a 12-7 lead, and scored all of the points the Bison would need for the win with 5:34 left in the second quarter.

The Griz shaved the Bison lead to 9-7 with 10:01 left until intermission on a 3-yard run by senior halfback Jordan Canada. The big play which led to Canada's rushing touchdown was a 72-yard pass from senior quarterback Jordan Johnson to junior wide receiver Jamaal Jones, as Jones advanced the ball to NDSU 3-yard line. That 72-yard Johnson-to-Jones pass completion tied for the 13th longest in school history.

NDSU took its first two-score lead (9-0) on a 32-yard field goal by Keller with 10:42 remaining until halftime. The Bison had taken a 6-0 lead in the opening quarter on back-to-back field goals by Keller, as he connected from 22 and 41 yards out. His two three-pointers accounted for the only scoring in the opening stanza.

Johnson was 15-of-29-1 for 188 yards with no scoring throws. Johnson was intercepted for the first time this season, which was also the Grizzlies' first turnover of the season.

Canada had 12 carries for 48 yards and a TD. Senior running back/wide-out Travon Van and junior wide receiver

Ellis Henderson had a team-high 4 receptions each.

Junior linebacker Jeremiah Kose led the Griz with a game and career-high 16 tackles. Kendrick Van Ackeren garnered 13 tackles for UM, while fellow junior linebacker Herbert Gamboa added 11 stops, as did senior free safety Matt Hermanson.

Henderson now has 1,478 career receiving yards, moving him up to 24th in school history. Hermanson now has 274 career tackles, which moves him up to 15th on the all-time list.

Wentz was 16-of-24-0 for 167 yards and a TD. Senior running back John Crockett rushed 28 times for 144 yards. Vaadeland led NDSU with 5 catches.

The Bison out-gained the Griz 280 to 68 yards rushing, and had 24 first downs, compared to UM's nine. NDSU had almost 20 more minutes of possession than Montana (39:06 to 20:54).

The Grizzlies play their Big Sky Conference opener next Saturday, Sept. 27, hosting Northern Colorado in their annual Homecoming game, with kick-off at 1:40 p.m. in Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

NDSU has an open date next Saturday, and then plays at Western Illinois in its conference opener on Oct. 4.

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