Easton Stick ran for two touchdowns and North Dakota State overcame Illinois State and a snowstorm to beat the Redbirds 20-7 on Saturday in Normal, Ill., to win their third outright Missouri Valley Football Conference championship.
Stick ran 10 yards for the game's first score in the third quarter and Bruce Anderson added a 1-yard touchdown later in the quarter that came four plays after Jabril Cox intercepted Jake Kolbe and returned it 32 yards to the Redbirds 25.
James Robinson ran in from 11 yards out with 3:21 left in the game for Illinois State (6-5, 4-4) to cut the lead to 13-7 but on the Bison's ensuing drive, Stick ran 56 yards to the Illinois State 12 and was stripped of the ball, but Anderson recovered on the 1. Stick scored on the next play.
The Bison, who wrapped up an automatic FCS playoff bid with the victory, have won or shared seven straight conference titles.
South Dakota State 31, South Dakota 28: Taryn Christion threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns and South Dakota State held off South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D. The Jackrabbits (9-2, 6-2 Missouri Valley) have won a series-record nine straight vs. their in-state rivals.
South Dakota went in front 21-17 on a 10-yard TD pass from Chris Streveler to Dakarai Allen with 3:54 left in the third quarter, but Mikey Daniel's 1-yard plunge with 22 seconds left in the quarter put the Jackrabbits ahead 24-21.
Streveler, the former Gopher, finished with 286 yards passing and two scores. One week after breaking the school's single-season record for total offense, he broke the program's season mark for passing yards. He now has 3,236.
"Chris Streveler, if there's a guy that's a better player in college football, I haven't seen him," South Dakota coach Bob Nielson said. "He didn't practice all week. The reason why he was wearing gloves is because his throwing hand is so swollen, he can't even hang onto the football right now. And look what he did."