FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Make that four straight in Texas for North Dakota State.
Quarterback Carson Wentz ran 5 yards for the winning touchdown about a minute after Tre Roberson’s 58-yard run put Illinois State ahead, and the Bison became the first team to win four straight FCS championships with a thrilling 29-27 victory Saturday.READ MORE: Jury Selection Under Way In Jussie Smollett Trial
North Dakota State (15-1) lost a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter, but answered quickly after falling behind. RJ Urzendowski had catches of 32 and 33 yards to get the Bison in scoring range, and Wentz broke a tackle around the 5 and eased into the end zone for the lead.
Roberson threw three touchdown passes, but also an interception to Jalen Battle in the final seconds trying to get the Redbirds (13-2) in field goal range.
It looked as if the Bison were finally going to have a disappointing trip to the professional soccer stadium north of Dallas when Roberson faked a handoff to 2,000-yard rusher Marshaun Coprich, went to his left and cut upfield on the midfield logo. He ran untouched to the end zone.
A failed 2-point conversion left the Redbirds with a 27-23 lead.
Wentz hit Urzendowski on a crossing route for 32 yards on the first play of the next drive, and later unloaded the ball deep with pressure coming when Urzendowski found the ball while safety DraShane Glass never looked back for the throw inside the 10. Wentz scored on the next play.READ MORE: Bond Set At $500,000 For Brendan Wydajewski, Accused In DUI Crash That Killed 3 People; Prosecutors Say He Was Driving Drunk At 122 MPH
The Bison won a de facto Missouri Valley Conference title game between teams that didn’t play in the regular season, and Wentz led a rally that added a title a year after predecessor Brock Jensen set an FCS record for quarterbacks with 48 victories.
North Dakota safety Christian Dudzik had five tackles in his 61st start, believed to be a first for a Division I player, to highlight a senior class that had more national titles (four) than losses (58-3 record).
Wentz, already the school record-holder for yards passing in a season, threw for 237 yards and a touchdown and had 87 yards rushing.
Roberson, an Indiana transfer, had 161 yards rushing and 157 passing, while Coprich added 106 yards on the ground.
Adam Keller had three field goals for North Dakota State, breaking the FCS single-season record for kickers with 145 points before his final point-after attempt was blocked to give the Redbirds a chance to win with a field goal.
Roberson reached the 44 in the final seconds, but Battle won a tussle for the ball. The interception was held up on review.MORE NEWS: 17-Year-Old Boy Killed, 4 Injured In Evanston Shooting; Police Believe Shooting Was Targeted
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