FARGO, N.D. — The Georgia Southern Eagles came into the game making only 8 of 21 field goal attempts on the season.
What’s one more miss?
Drew Ruggles, a soccer player recruited the day before the Eagles left Statesboro to face the North Dakota State Bison in the semifinals of the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals, had a 50-yard, game-tying field-goal attempt blocked in the final seconds as NDSU held on to defeat GSU, 23-20, to advance to the national title game for the second year in a row.
It was the second-straight year the Eagles (10-4) lost to the Bison in the semifinals, and the third year in a row the Eagles’ season ended one win short of a trip to the national title game.
Bison quarterback Brock Jensen ran 45 yards on the game-winning drive, punching it in from five yards out with 3 minutes, 5 seconds remaining.
The Eagles faced desperation, fourth-and-11 on their final drive, and got a miracle when Zach Walker caught a 40-yard pass down the sideline from Ezayi Youyoute.
The blocked kick, however, ended GSU’s chances.
Jerick McKinnon rushed for a game- and team-high 168 yards for the Eagles, who out-gained NDSU (13-1), 430-276, in the game.
Note: GSU’s 430 yards were the most allowed by NDSU all season. The Bison have the No. 1 defense in FCS. Georgia Southern, a six-time national champ, fell to 45-13 all time in the FCS playoffs and 8-5 in semifinal games.