FARGO — Quincy Patterson's right arm was as good as it needed to be. The 85-yard dime he dropped to Christian Watson for the game's first touchdown was highlight reel stuff. QP2 isn't Joe Montana but he ain't Hannah Montana, either.
But let's talk about those legs and the 245 pounds of muscle packed into and above them.
You want to see Patterson's value to this North Dakota State football team, which looks poised again to make another deep playoff run? Take a look at the hard-nosed work he did on the ground in the Bison 34-20 victory over Northern Iowa, scrambling and grinding for yards he had no business getting Saturday.
Take a look at the most amazing 5-yard gain you're going to see, when in the second quarter Patterson shed two would-be UNI sackers before shrugging off another tackler before lowering his head and plowing ahead to turn an 11-yard loss into a positive play.
You come at 𝑸, you best not miss. pic.twitter.com/TY5wHKjmWD— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) October 9, 2021
The Bison would eventually kick a field goal for a 13-10 halftime lead because of Patterson's work on that play.
"Six-three, 245 pounds. That's how I explain it," NDSU head coach Matt Entz said when asked how Patterson extricated himself from his predicament with UNI defenders Jared Brinkman and Devin Rice hanging on him.
"Those are things you never count on as a coach," Entz continued. "That's him against them and he was better on that play than they were tackling."
I wrote after Patterson sprinted for a 52-yard TD run against Valparaiso a month ago at the Fargodome that the rest of the Football Championship Subdivision should shudder. The Bison's all-important QB-run game was back after taking the spring off, after all.
There is absolutely 𝙉𝙊𝙏𝙃𝙄𝙉𝙂 Bison Nation loves more than a big ol' pile push downfield.— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) October 9, 2021
𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙍𝘼𝙈𝙎 take it in for 6! pic.twitter.com/KqUzNRwZpc
But that was Valparaiso. What Patterson did against Northern Iowa, a week after what he did against North Dakota, adds another dimension to the discussion. Patterson is so blasted physical, in addition to being fast, that he and the Bison offense are going to be a load to handle from here on out.
Brock Jensen, Carson Wentz, Easton Stick and Trey Lance all might have been more polished passers than Patterson is right now, but he is every bit as physical as they were in the run game.
Witness Patterson's 4-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, after a Jayden Price punt return put the Bison in business. The quarterback ran up the middle, took a big hit, kept his feet and kept pushing forward until his offensive linemen could rumble in and provide assistance from behind.
The whole pile, with Patterson in the middle, surged into the end zone in what has become a classic Bison play we've seen time and again. Good luck stopping that.
16 plays, 80 yards, and 8:26 of smashmouth football.— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) October 9, 2021
34-17, Bison. pic.twitter.com/Pq26FfjiDz
Patterson also scrambled for first downs on two third-down plays on a 16-play, 80-yard drive spanning the third and fourth quarters, ending in a 4-yard Patterson TD run — on third down, of course.
"It's crazy seeing a tank back there at QB who can run it and launch it. It's crazy," Watson said.
You've heard of the Patton tank? This is the Patterson tank.
Patterson finished 11 of 21 for 182 yards and two touchdowns. Of course, 85 of those came on the play to Watson. Those numbers are fine. The most important passing number for Patterson might be 0. That's the number of interceptions he threw for the second straight week in Missouri Valley Football Conference play.
Patterson isn't making risky throws, instead choosing to pull down the ball and run. Entz said his quarterback has gotten more comfortable doing that the past few weeks. Instead of taking a sack or throwing a potential pick, Patterson just tucks and runs.
Dang, they make it look easy.— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) October 9, 2021
Patterson. Watson. 85 yards. Touchdown. pic.twitter.com/KdOi0AKoTv
Patterson even showed he can turn a sure sack into a big play. Brinkman, the outstanding UNI defensive tackle who had his hands on the quarterback, is 290 pounds. He couldn't take down Patterson.
"I just kind of started backing up, and they all kind of fell off slowly. I just took off to my right and someone else missed. I was just kind of fortunate to get out of that situation," Patterson said, humbly.
Watson was more loquacious.
"It's just momentum. We know who Q is. We know what he can do. If we're not clicking in the pass game, we know we have him in the run game. ... It's exciting seeing him scramble and shake off three defenders," Watson said.
Patterson isn't going to put up Wentz-like passing numbers. He's not going to dazzle in the running game like Stick. He's not as silky smooth as Lance.
But the big man is tough and getting more comfortable in a slimmed down Bison offense.
NDSU is 5-0 with back-to-back tough conference victories. Don't book those Frisco tickets yet, but the Bison look to be back after a tough spring season. Patterson is a big reason why.
"I told the team I'm super excited for the win, but what I'm even more excited about is that I don't know where the ceiling is for this group," Entz said. "We beat a good football team today and we're here talking about things we can get better at. That's the challenge."