FARGO – South Dakota kicker Miles Bergner erased nearly four decades of Fargo frustration for the Coyotes with one accurate boot Saturday afternoon at the Fargodome.
Bergner drilled a 33-yard field goal as time expired to lift South Dakota to a stunning 24-21 victory against No. 2-ranked North Dakota State in Missouri Valley Football Conference play before 18,420 fans.
"This feels odd to celebrate a win in this room. I will tell you that," South Dakota head coach Joe Glenn said in the postgame news conference.
The Coyotes (3-3, 1-2 MVFC) hadn't won a game in Fargo since 1978. The Bison had won the past 15 home meetings against South Dakota, including eight in a row in the Fargodome.
"They flat-out beat us," Bison head coach Chris Klieman said.
NDSU (4-2, 2-1) had its 26-game home winning streak snapped. The Bison hadn't lost at home since a Oct. 13, 2012 when it dropped a 17-14 decision against Indiana State.
"Everybody's streak comes to a halt at some time," Glenn said. "Sometimes it isn't good to have all that pressure. They'll start another one. You know they will."
The Coyotes started the game-winning drive from their own 29-yard line with 3 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. South Dakota drove 55 yards to the Bison 16-yard line on a march that included two third-down conversions.
Coyotes running back Trevor Bouma had the biggest play on the decisive drive, a 14-yard run that moved the ball to the NDSU 27. That came right after a 15-yard Bison personal foul penalty for knocking the helmet off South Dakota quarterback Ryan Saeger.
South Dakota worked the ball to the NDSU 16 after a 1-yard rush from freshman running back Michael Fredrick. The Coyotes called timeout with 3 seconds remaining to set the stage for Bergner, who had missed a 47-yard field goal late in the third quarter. Bergner was 4-for-11 on field goals this season heading into that final attempt.
"It has been a rough year," said Bergner, who made 16 of 17 field goals a season ago. "I was in the mindset it was time to give it all and do it for everyone else."
Bergner booted the ball through the uprights, setting off the Coyotes sideline. The South Dakota players stormed the field in jubilation, while most of the fans in the stadium watched in disbelief.
"It was just really emotional," said Saeger, who rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts.
The Coyotes finished with 395 yards of total offense, while the Bison had 320. South Dakota also had a 193-125 edge in rushing yards. The Coyotes scored 10 points in the final quarter, while NDSU was held scoreless in the second half.
"We didn't get lucky," Glenn said. "This wasn't a lucky win for us. ... We earned every bit of it. We earned the win today."
The Bison took a 14-0 lead after freshman receiver Darrius Shepherd caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Carson Wentz with 2 minutes, 30 seconds to play in the first quarter.
South Dakota controlled the final three quarters, however, holding a 367-181 edge in yards over the final 45 minutes.
"We just couldn't stay on the field, and we just couldn't get anything going," Wentz said. "We just got to know that we can't just come in and win the game. We've got to work for it."