Williams, Miller lead N. Dakota St. past ETSU 27-3 in FCS

Dec 10, 2021, 10:26 PM | Updated: Dec 11, 2021, 12:27 pm

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — TaMerik Williams rushed for 91 yards with two touchdowns and Cam Miller rushed for another as second-seeded North Dakota State used a powerful ground game to eliminate seventh-seeded East Tennessee State, 27-3, in the FCS quarterfinals on Saturday.

Miller led back-to-back scoring drives in the second quarter, completing four of four passes, Williams scored on two short runs and North Dakota State (12-1) built a 13-0 lead in about six minutes. The Bison gained 278 yards rushing with four touchdowns.

NDSU, ranked third in the final FCS coaches poll, will host second-ranked and No. 3 seed James Madison in the semifinal round Dec, 17-18. The Bison have reached the semifinals for the 10th time, third-most among FCS teams.

ETSU (11-2) had watched a 55-yard field goal attempt fall short and to the left, giving the Bison possession at their own 38. Eight plays later, Williams barreled in from the 3. ETSU was forced to punt after a three-and-out and North Dakota State went 76 yards to score again in nine plays, Williams scoring from the 7.

In the third quarter, Michael Tutsie stepped in front of the intended receiver to pick off Tyler Riddell near midfield and, four plays later, Miller scored from the 3. The interception came one play after the Buccaneers stopped North Dakota State on downs. Riddell was throwing under pressure.

The Bison added a capper in the fourth quarter, chewing 6:13 off the clock in 12 plays as Hunter Luepke charged straight ahead from the 11 to finish the scoring.

On defense, the Bison held ETSU’s potent backfield duo of Quay Holmes and Jacob Saylors to a combined 69 yards on 21 carries.

Riddell finished 16-of-32 passing for 92 yards and an interception. Outside of a 40-yard field goal late in the third quarter, the Bucs were forced to punt on seven of 11 drives, the others ending on the missed field goal attempt, the interception and a final drive on downs.

North Dakota State picked up 22 first downs to ETSU’s 11 and had the ball for more than 33 minutes, nine more than the Buccaneers.

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Williams, Miller lead N. Dakota St. past ETSU 27-3 in FCS