NDSU, Stick handle San Diego in FCS second round (Dec 02, 2017)

(STATS) – North Dakota State opened its FCS playoff run on Saturday like a team that’s motivated by a disappointing finish last year.

The second-seeded Bison scored on their first three possessions and pulled away to a 38-3 second-round rout of San Diego before 18,067 at the Fargodome.

The 11-1 Missouri Valley Football Conference champions will host No. 7 seed Wofford (10-2) in the quarterfinals next Saturday.

It was a familiar result for NDSU, which also beat San Diego 45-7 in the second round a year ago following a first-round bye. But the Bison’s five-year run as FCS champion ended with a 27-17 loss to James Madison in the semifinals, and they’re seeking a better finish this season.

Redshirt junior quarterback Easton Stick led the way against San Diego (10-3) by passing for three touchdowns and scoring on a 51-yard run. Running back Bruce Anderson gained 112 of the Bison’s 301 rushing yards and scored on a 48-yard reception.

NDSU’s vaunted defense forced three turnovers, including just the third interception of San Diego quarterback Anthony Lawrence, who entered with 33 touchdown passes. The Pioneer Football League champion Toreros managed only 174 yards one week after its dominated Northern Arizona 41-10 in the first round.

“I thought we were able to control the football up front. We were able to get off the field an awful lot,” NDSU coach Chris Klieman said.

San Diego had its own defensive highlight. Senior Jonathan Petersen collected three of the Toreros’ four sacks. It gave him 44 for his caeer, passing the record of 42½ sacks by Southern Utah’s James Cowser (2012-2015).