FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Easton Stick threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score and top-ranked North Dakota State clinched the Missouri Valley Football Conference's automatic berth to the FCS playoffs with a 17-7 victory over Youngstown State on Saturday.
The Bison (9-0, 6-0), No. 1 in the two FCS national polls, beat Youngstown State for a sixth straight time and upped their FCS-best winning streak to 15.
The only score of the first half came when Stick hooked up with Lance Dunn from 30 yards out with 9:07 remaining in the second quarter to put the Bison up 7-0. The Penguins (3-6, 2-4) missed a golden opportunity to tie the game in the final seconds of the first half. A blocked punt gave Youngstown State the ball at the NDSU 12-yard line, but Nathan Mays lost track of downs and on fourth-and 1 from the 3 he spiked the ball trying to stop the clock, turning the ball over with 9 seconds left.
The Penguins managed to pull even with 2:45 left in the third quarter on a 21-yard scoring strike from Mays to Miles Joiner, but Stick ran it in from a yard out early in the fourth quarter and Cam Pedersen added a 36-yard field goal with 5:13 remaining to wrap up the win.
Dunn finished with 100 yards rushing on 18 carries and Stick completed 13 of 23 passes for 197 yards. Youngstown State managed just 280 yards of offense.
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