Eastern falls short to North Dakota State in FCS National Championship

North Dakota State fans certainly outnumbered Eastern fans, packing three-quarters of Toyota Stadium Saturday, but the noise they brought didn’t get in the Eagle’s way.

A wide array of penalties kept the offense from doing anything for most of the first half.

The Bison found the end zone twice, both rushing touchdowns from quarterback Easton Stick, helping NDSU build a 17-3 lead.

But just before halftime, a third and goal play went nowhere for EWU’s offense , and Aaron Best pulled out a gutsy play call. The Eags faked field goal, and Gunner Talkington executed a clean hand-off to Jayce Gilder, who pushed two yards and extended for Eastern’s first touchdown of the game.

That gave the Eagles momentum into halftime, when the craziness really started. Both teams contributed to three consecutive turnovers, until North Dakota scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Stick to Darrius Shepard.

Eastern runningback Sam Mcpherson responded with a 75-yard touchdown run, his second-longest of the year.

The Bison had much more to give too, answering right back with a 78-yard passing touchdown.

Eagles quarterback Eric Barriere ran in another score from five yards out to get EWU within 14 points, but an eventual failed onside kick with two minutes remaining gave the ball back to the Bison.

That’s when the FCS’s new winningest quarterback(49)ran in his third touchdown of the day to give NDSU their seventh national championship, the most by any school in FCS history.

Eastern finishes the season 12-3.