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Bison stun the college football world again with upset of Iowa

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman didn't look at kicker Cam Pedersen in the closing seconds. Bison quarterback Easton Stick got out of the way and let Pedersen do his thing at a packed Kinnick Stadium.

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King Frazier of North Dakota State tries to slip through the Iowa defense during their football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, in Iowa City, Iowa. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

IOWA CITY, Iowa - North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman didn't look at kicker Cam Pedersen in the closing seconds. Bison quarterback Easton Stick got out of the way and let Pedersen do his thing at a packed Kinnick Stadium.

Pedersen delivered, drilling a clutch 37-yard field goal on the final play of the fourth quarter. That lifted the Bison to a stunning 23-21 victory against Iowa in nonconference college football Saturday, Sept. 17, before sellout crowd of 70,585 fans.

Pedersen didn't remember much about the wild scene after the kick went through as the Bison players celebrated on the field.

"I kind of blacked out a little bit there," Pedersen said with a laugh. "I was hoping I didn't get tackled by any linemen."

The five-time Division I FCS champions (3-0) knocked off a sixth consecutive FBS opponent. Iowa (2-1) is arguably the most impressive victory with the Hawkeyes coming in ranked No. 11 in the FBS top 25 poll. Iowa played in the Rose Bowl last season. This marks only the fourth time an FCS team has defeated a ranked FBS opponent.

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"They know one thing and that's how to close and how to win," Klieman said of his team.

The Bison rallied to score the game's final nine points, which all came in the fourth quarter. NDSU rushed for 239 yards, while limiting the defending Big Ten Conference West Division champion Hawkeyes to 34 yards on the ground.

"They came in here to win the football game," Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. "They are an excellent team. It came as no surprise to us that they are a tremendous team. Very well coached. They play hard."

The Bison gained 126 yards in the fourth quarter, including 103 rushing. The Hawkeyes were held to minus-9 yards over the final 15 minutes.

Stick started the game-winning drive with an electric 29-yard run on a quarterback draw. He completed a 10-yard pass to RJ Urzendowski on the next play to move the ball to the Iowa 27-yard line. Two plays later, the Bison were at the Iowa 20, lining up for a field goal with 5 seconds to play.

"There was no doubt that Cam was going to make that kick," Stick said.

Stick was right. The Pedersen kick, from the right hash marks, floated just inside the right upright as time expired.

"There is not a lot of words for it," Bison senior linebacker MJ Stumpf said. "It's pretty cool."

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The Bison cut the Iowa lead to 21-20 after running back Chase Morlock caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Stick with 3 minutes, 41 seconds remaining. The Bison went for two-points and the lead, but Stick was pressured on the play and his pass sailed incomplete.

The Bison defense gave the offense one last chance. Iowa went three plays and out on the ensuing possession. NDSU safety Robbie Grimsley sacked Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard on a third-and-11 play to force a punt.

"Robbie came down and made a huge play for us," said Stumpf, who had an interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter. "We always talk about finishing games. That's what we did."

NDSU's game-winning drive covered 46 yards in five plays and chewed up the final 1:53 of the fourth quarter.

"I can't say enough about the guys in the locker room," Klieman said. "What a resilient bunch. ... We belonged."

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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