No. 25 North Dakota State Cruises to 44-0 Victory Over Football Bears
Nov. 5, 2005
FARGO, N.D. - The University of Northern Colorado football team dropped its third conference game of the season on Saturday, falling 44-0 to No. 25 North Dakota State at the Fargodome in the NDSU's annual Harvest Bowl game.
North Dakota State (6-3, 2-2 Great West Football Conference) improved to 14-3 at home over the past three seasons and to 28-1-2 in Harvest Bowl games; the lone lose in that stretch was a 29-7 defeat by Northern Colorado in 2002.
With the loss, Northern Colorado (3-5, 0-3 GWFC) saw its three-game winning streak against North Dakota State come to an end; however, the Bears have won five of the last seven meetings overall against their former North Central Conference rivals.
North Dakota State out gained the Bears 501 to 172 in total yards, including 272 to 22 on the ground.
The loss was the worst for the Bears since losing 62-14 to this same North Dakota State team on Oct. 20, 1984.
The Bison got on the board early following a three-and-out possession by Northern Colorado when they blocked Rafael Mendoza's punt attempt and the ball sailed out of the end zone for a safety. The blocked punt was the fifth of the year allowed by Northern Colorado.
After NDSU was denied a scoring opportunity on its ensuing possession (Greg Gebhardt picked off Steve Walker's pass attempt) the Bison drove the length of the field in 10 plays and took a 9-0 lead on Kyle Steffes' ninth rushing touchdown of the year.
Another Steffes rushing touchdown, the culmination of a seven minute and 45 second Bison drive, put North Dakota State up 16-0.
Although it appeared the Bears would go into halftime down only 16-0, two costly penalties helped the Bison extend their advantage to 23-0. On a 4th-and-3 play deep in UNC territory, NDSU was stopped by the Bears defense only to see a holding penalty keep the drive alive. Later on a 3rd-and-4 play, the Northern Colorado was called for roughing the passer, which eventually set up five-yard touchdown run by Walker to extend his team's lead to 23 points.
The Bison did not need much time in the third quarter to put the game out of reach, taking a 30-0 lead when Steffes scored his third touchdown of the afternoon, a 1-yard dive the capped a six-play, 60-yard scoring drive.
NDSU added touchdowns by A.J. Cooper (57-yard reception) and Cinque Chapman (1-yard run) to close the scoring.
Steffes finished the day with 63 yards and 18 carries and three scores. A year ago in Greeley, he ran for 128 yards and a touchdown. Chapman added 107 yards to lead all rushers.
Nick Hager finished the game 15-for-26 for 150 yards for UNC, while Walker, the Harvest Bowl MVP, was 14-for-18 for 218 yards and a score.
Andy Birkel was the Bears leading receiver, grabbing six balls for 87 yards.
Northern Colorado returns home next week for its final home game of the regular season, as it hosts Sam Houston State (12 p.m. MT). The game can be seen on Altitude Sports & Entertainment television.