Kolpack: bison defense made Walter Payton runner-up look like a substitute
The season Quay Holmes hosted for East Tennessee State was one the team and their fans will not soon forget. The junior running back ran for 1,518 yards, 17 touchdowns and led his team to the Division I FCS quarterfinals.
It might not be statue-worthy on the Johnson City, Tenn. Campus, but good enough for Holmes to be one of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award, which recognizes the FCS’s best offensive player.
He will be in Frisco, TX for the Jan.8 title weekend for the awards ceremony. At least he won’t have to maneuver through the defense of the state of North Dakota to get to the banquet. On a cold winter day outside, it was difficult to toboggan inside Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
Fourteen races, 35 meters.
That best explains NDSU’s 27-3 victory which sends the Bison to next weekend’s epic home semi-final date with James Madison.
North Dakota State quarterback Quincy Patterson takes on Di’Andre Davis of eastern Tennessee State in the FCS Quarter-Finals at the Fargodome on December 11, 2021. David Samson / The Forum
“We invaded the ball,” said Bison security guard Michael Tutsi. â(Holmes) is an exceptional player and we saw how good he was on film. We’re just proud to make sure we all wear the hats in football and put it on the ground in every game. ”
Holmes’ long run was 13 yards, but it didn’t come until 5:20 left in the game and the Bison with a comfortable lead. This isn’t the first time that NDSU has ended a top running back this time of year – one thinks of Zach Zenner of South Dakota state – and the difference was once again the level of play on the line of scrimmage.
Difficult to run for Walter Payton-style yards when there is no room to run.
âFirst of all, they’re big,â East Tennessee tight end Nate Adkins said. âItâs one of the things that stood out for me before the game, itâs one of the biggest teams weâve faced. They have a lot of depth and turn pretty much every position on the defensive line and linebacker and are always successful.
Michael Tutsie (25) of North Dakota State celebrates his interception with teammate Dawson Weber during the FCS Quarter-Finals at the Fargodome on December 11, 2021. David Samson / The Forum
Muscle matters. East Tennessee head coach Randy Sanders said everyone he has spoken to this week who has played at NDSU for the past few years has spoken to him about the size of Bison’s players.
âObviously, they’re doing a great job in the weight room,â Sanders said. âTheir strength, size and maturity and experience in these situations.
It has come a long way for Buccaneer’s offense. The final tally was 17 of 33 passes for 99 yards and an interception. The team made 25 carries for 66 yards. An average of 2.6 yards per carry will not be enough.
It was by no means a clinic by the Bison’s offense, but that didn’t matter with the Buccaneers being outclassed on the other side of the ball. The only points, a 40-yard field goal kick from kicker Tyler Keltner, came from an NDSU special teams error.
A rebounding punt in eastern Tennessee hit the back of Bison returnee DJ Hart and the Bucs recovered it at the NDSU 31-yard line.
ETSU managed eight yards forcing the field goal.
âThe games they’ve been successful withâ¦ we’ve forced their backs to stop their feet, that’s not what they want to do,â NDSU head coach Matt Entz said. “They want to come down and fall forward.”
ETSU back-up running back Jacob Saylors needed 15 yards on Saturday to join Holmes in the 1,000-yard club. He barely did it with 34 yards.
âOur attack goes through both,â Adkins said. âIf one starts up and the other is slow, it still works. But the two were wrong and it was difficult.
Again, it wasn’t really one or two Bison defense guys who made the ESPN highlights all day. Nine players managed between three and six tackles led by Tutsi’s six. Defensive tackle Eli Mostaert may have had the signing game of the day when he threw Holmes for a one-yard loss on the third-and-1s.
This happened during East Tennessee’s first possession in the second half and forced the Bucs to kick a volley. If there was a half-time adjustment with the Buccaneer racing game, Mostaert put a damper on it.
“It was satisfying for us as a team because we knew he was a good full-back,” said Mostaert. “It was great for us to stop the race, to do them and to make them one-dimensional.”