Wofford's season ends in FCS quarterfinals
Courtesy: Southern Conference
Release: 12/09/2017
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Wofford's Blake Morgan
Courtesy: Wofford Athletics

FARGO, N.D. – The Wofford College football team’s season ended in the NCAA FCS quarterfinals on Saturday with a 42-10 loss to North Dakota State in the Fargodome. The Terriers scored first, but the Bison scored three touchdowns in the final five minutes of the first half to take a 35-10 lead. NDSU added a touchdown in the third quarter and held the Terriers scoreless to advance to the semifinals.

Wofford, ranked seventh in the nation at the FCS level, ends the season at 10-3 overall. NDSU, ranked fourth in the nation, is 12-1 on the season. The Terriers were led by Blake Morgan with 54 rushing yards, while R.J. Taylor had two catches for 38 yards. The Bison were led by Easton Stick, who was 11-of-16 passing for 184 yards and three touchdowns, along with one rushing touchdown.

“That was a tough game,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “They did what they do better than we did what we do. We knew it was going to be tough and know the history of their team. We understood that they have an outstanding team and outstanding players and they do a great job schematically. We had a chance to still be in the game and then just before half we had a debacle. They put us in a hole that did not allow us to do some things that we like to do. All the credit goes to their team and coaches for an outstanding job. They never made it easy on us all day, whatever the situation. I love my guys. They are great kids, tough and they didn’t give up. I just didn’t do a good enough job coaching them to get ready for this team and the environment.”

The Bison had the ball first and went three-and-out. After the punt, Wofford faced a fourth-and-two and Morgan picked up the first down and more with a 38-yard run. Luke Carter capped the drive with a 40-yard field for a 3-0 lead with 9:04 on the clock in the first quarter. On the next drive by the Bison, they had two first downs before Connor Wentz caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from Stick for a 7-3 lead at 6:07 in the first. Wofford went three-and-out and punted back to the Bison.

With the ball back, a 44-yard first-down pass to R.J. Urzendowski moved the Bison into Wofford territory. Seth Wilson then caught an 18-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 14-3 with 2:32 on the clock in the first quarter. Wofford had a first-down run by Brandon Goodson before having to punt at midfield. After a first down, the Bison fumbled and Colton Clemons recovered at the 22-yard line. Blake Morgan had a rushing first down and on fourth-and-goal from the 3, Andre Stoddard scored the touchdown. Wofford trailed 14-10 at the 10:31 mark of the second quarter.

The next drive by the Bison began with a 41-yard kickoff return and a 33-yard run. A first-down run and first down on a defensive holding call moved the ball to the 4-yard line. Bruce Anderson capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run and a 21-10 lead at the 4:49 mark of the second quarter. On the first play of Wofford’s next drive, Morgan fumbled and it was recovered by the Bison’s Robbie Grimsley and returned 21 yards to the 3-yard line. After a tackle for loss by Mikel Horton, Jeff Illies caught a 4-yard touchdown pass for a 28-10 lead with 3:50 left in the first half. Wofford then fumbled on the ensuing kickoff and it was recovered by the Bison at the 32-yard line. After a pair of first downs, Bruce Anderson scored from 5 yards out to give NDSU a 35-10 lead with 54 seconds left until halftime. Joe Newman fumbled the first snap but recovered the ball. The Terriers punted with five seconds left and the game went to the half.

Wofford had the ball to open the second half and had one first down before having to punt. The Bison had two first downs and then attempted a 50-yard field goal that was blocked by Brandon Curtis. The Terriers went three-and-out and punted. Ty Brooks had a 30-yard run for the Bison to get to midfield. After a 19-yard first down run, a first down pass moved NDSU inside the 10. Stick ran it in from 7 yards out to push the lead to 42-10 with 2:28 left in the third quarter. Wofford had a fourth-and-one converted on a run by Chase Nelson, but the drive stalled and the Terriers punted. The Bison had a first down and then had an apparent touchdown called back. Wofford took over after a punt at the 22-yard line with 9:22 left in the game. A pair of first downs moved the Terriers across midfield, but a fourth-and-8 pass was incomplete and the Bison took over on downs with 5:54 remaining. After two more first downs, the Bison were able to run out the clock on the win.

Wofford had 177 total yards, with 134 rushing. NDSU had 464 total yards, 261 of which were rushing. Wofford had eight first downs to 21 for NDSU. Wofford was 1-of-12 on third downs and 3-of-4 on fourth down. NDSU was 10-of-13 on third down. The teams were called for four penalties each. NDSU had a 35:55 to 24:05 time-of-possession advantage.

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