FARGO, N.D. -- After holding North Dakota State to 24 rushing yards and seven points in the first half, the Bison rushed for 195 yards and scored 28 points in the second half to beat Sam Houston State 35-3 and book a fourth consecutive appearance in the FCS Championship game.
The Bearkats held NDSU to just 99 total yards of offense in the first half and 68 of those yards came on the lone Bison scoring drive. Running back John Crocket capped off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run.
Crocket finished the game with 166 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. Quarterback Carson Wentz was 13-of-19 passing for 179 yards and a touchdown.
“NDSU wins by design. They’re very methodical, have great personnel and they’re very well coached,” Sam Houston head coach K.C. Keeler said. “I just think eventually we were worn out. We had to make some more plays in the first half to keep our defense off the field.”
Sam Houston put together an 85-yard drive in the first half that ended with a 22-yard field goal by Luc Swimberghe. The sophomore also missed a 46-yard field goal attempt in the first half.
Quarterback Jared Johnson led the way for the SHSU offense that amassed 338 yards of total offense but was unable to get in the end zone. Johnson was 20-of-31 passing for 227 yards with an interception. He led the Kats with 66 rushing yards on 25 carries.
Corner back Mikell Everette set the Bearkats up with a great opportunity early in the second half with an interception but SHSU was unable to capitalize.
Linebackers Tristan Eche and Myke Chatman led the team in tackles with 13 and 12 apiece.
Sam Houston State had a great playoff run, beating Southland Co-Champion Southeastern Louisiana, No. 3 seed Jacksonville State and No. 6 seed Villanova.
“I’m very proud of our kids. What a great run. We have just one senior on offense and one on defense. We feel pretty good about where we’re headed,” Keeler said.