GRAND FORKS — North Dakota State's game-clinching drive against North Dakota on Saturday had the feel of the last meeting between the teams.
That came in the Football Championship Subdivision spring season when the Bison beat UND 34-13 at the Fargodome. In that game, NDSU fullback Hunter Luepke carried 28 times for 190 yards and three touchdowns.
In the rematch six months later, Luepke was quiet for most of the game until NDSU's drive that cinched its 16-10 victory when he carried five times for 40 yards, including back-to-back first-down runs of 10 and 21 yards. He carried on the next play for five yards.
"It was funny, like during that drive I just looked at him and I told him, 'You’re different,'" NDSU quarterback Quincy Patterson said. "'Just keep being different.'"
NDSU, which took over at its 42-yard line to start the drive, moved easily to the Fighting Hawks' 20. Patterson capped the eight-play, 58-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to give NDSU a 16-7 lead with 1:13 left.
Luepke finished the game with nine carries for 51 yards, meaning he carried only four times for 11 yards before the final drive.
UND bottled up NDSU's touted running game for much of the afternoon. The Bison entered the game averaging 348.3 rushing yards, near the top of the FCS. They finished with 223 against the Hawks.
Mason Miller came into game as a sixth offensive lineman, leading the way for Luepke on runs of 21 and 5 yards.
"At that point, it was all or nothing," Patterson said of NDSU's lone TD drive.
“I just think they wanted it more to be honest with you at that point in time," said UND linebacker Devon Krzanowski.
Reinholz has career day
Patterson scored his team’s only touchdown, but the game-winning points came from the right leg of Jake Reinholz. He was 3-for-3 on field goals in a game that he “had circled on the calendar for quite some time.”
Reinholz is from Fargo Shanley.
“It felt good to help my team in the way I could today,” he said.
Reinholz missed the last two matchups with the Fighting Hawks because of an injury. He was successful on kicks of 45, 34 and 30 yards in a building that was about as loud as it gets for NDSU in an opposing FCS stadium. The 45-yarder was a career long for the senior.
“You just have to focus,” Reinholz said. “You take your same steps every time and you can block out the noise pretty easily. … It was a little bit louder than we expected I think, the place was packed, but these are the games we play for.”
Reinholz booted a field goal in each of the first three quarters. His last one came with 4:34 left in the third quarter and gave the Bison their first lead at 9-7. It held up as the game-winner.
“You don’t get the spotlight very often so when you do, you soak it in the best way you can,” he said.
'We didn't back down'
NDSU earned a 21-point victory against the Fighting Hawks last March when the two teams played during the spring season at the Fargodome. Saturday's game was a tightly contested affair with NDSU taking its first lead of the second half with less than five minutes to play in the third quarter.
"Our mentality," Krzanowski said on the difference from the 21-point UND loss in the spring. "We knew it was going to be a fight. I just think this time we didn’t back down to it. We knew it was going to be a physical game, we wanted to out-physical them."
The teams played to a virtual draw in yards from scrimmage Saturday at the Alerus Center. NDSU gained 280 yards on 58 plays, while UND had 289 yards on 61 plays.
"We played against a tough opponent," UND head coach Bubba Schweigert said. "We really played hard and played the way you should play football."
Odds and ends
Bison head coach Matt Entz wasn't immediately sure of his team's injury situation after the game, but center Jalen Sundell left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury and did not return. He was replaced by sophomore Brandon Westberg. ... Bison running back Dominic Gonnella was hurt on the first play of the game but later came back in the game with his left ankle taped. ... Linebacker James Kaczor started for NDSU, his first game action since the season opener against Albany. Kaczor is nursing a groin injury suffered in the spring season. ... Bison receiver Zach Mathis, who missed a chunk of fall camp and the first three games with an elbow injury, was in uniform against the Hawks. ... NDSU linebacker Luke Weerts did not play because of a back injury. ... Patterson's helmet came off on a tackle along the UND sideline, so Patterson had to sit out a play. Backup Cam Miller came in on third-and-20 from the UND 36. He completed a pass to tight end Noah Gindorff for eight yards, which got the ball to the UND 27, setting up Reinholz's 45-yard field goal.