North Dakota State, the Alabama football of the FCS level, connected on an incredible Hail Mary to get on the scoreboard at the end of the first half of today's game against Southern Illinois, cutting the Salukis lead to 17-7. At the time, it looked like that was the play that the Bison needed to swing momentum back in their favor, and help them control the second half.
The second half certainly didn't play out that way for the program that has won eight of the last nine FCS national championships. The teams played a scoreless third quarter, and SIU drew first blood in the fourth, on a Nic Baker touchdown pass to Landon Lenoir, to push the lead to 24-7. After a Bison interception, Salukis' running back Javon Williams Jr. punched one in to push things to 31-7.
On the team's next drive, they went 80 yards in 11 plays, capped by a 20-yard Romeir Elliott run for a touchdown to push the lead to 38-7. NDSU would score on its final drive, but ultimately fell 38-14.
North Dakota State, which suffered its first loss of the season, entered the game as a 16.5-point favorite. On the moneyline, the Bison were -1050, meaning a bettor would have to lay out $1,050 to win just $100 on the team straight up. With the win, SIU beat the spread by an impressive 40.5 points. The game also snapped a mind-blowing 39-game winning streak for NDSU.
That streak was the longest in FCS history. The team's last loss came on Nov. 4, 2017, when the No. 2 Bison fell at No. 8 South Dakota State, 33-21.
This isn't a huge referendum on North Dakota State, of course. The program is still the class of the FCS level, and could very well recover to make a run at the national title. The Bison also don't get to play with Trey Lance, who opted to sit out of this spring season, to focus on the NFL Draft, where he is a potential Top 10 pick.
Still, it's a pretty seismic upset, especially to a team that was 7-5 a year ago, and lost to North Dakota just a week ago, 44-21.