FARGO, N.D. — North Dakota State's defense sealed another trip to the FCS national championship game for the Bison in a 35-32 semifinal victory over upstart Incarnate Word on Friday at the Fargodome.
Third-seeded NDSU (12-2) advanced to the title game for the second straight season and for the 10th time in the past 12 years. The Bison await the winner of the other semifinal between fourth-seed Montana State (12-1) and No. 1 South Dakota State (12-1) on Saturday in Brookings, S.D.
NDSU's Dawson Weber intercepted a deep pass from Incarnate Word quarterback Lindsey Scott with 1:13 remaining to seal the outcome and allow the Bison to run out the clock.
On its previous possession, UIW opted to go for it on fourth and 4 from the NDSU 22-yard line rather than attempt a tying field goal with 5:11 remaining. On that play, Scott's pass was broken up and the Bison took possession.
NDSU's Kobe Johnson fumbled on the ensuing play, but the officials ruled that Johnson recovered the ball. The Bison eventually punted it back to the Cardinals, who took over on their own 3. UIW moved to the 31, but that's when Weber intercepted Scott to preserve the win for North Dakota State.
It was Weber's second interception of the game. NDSU's defense had four total takeaways.
Bison QB Cam Miller completed just one pass but rushed for a career-high 132 yards and a touchdown. Johnson had 136 rushing yards and three TDS.
UIW's Scott, who had one of the most prolific single-seasons for a quarterback in FCS history, completed 30 of 46 passes for 282 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, and had 80 rushing yards and two scores.
Seventh-seeded Incarnate Word finished its season with a 12-2 record.