Photo special to Bison Illustrated
Welcome to the countdown to Frisco! Starting Christmas Day with a “The Twelve Days of Christmas” theme, we’ll feature a Bison football player per day who had a memorable FCS Championship game. Join us as we countdown these remarkable memories and get ready for the big game Jan. 6!
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The legend of RJ Urzendowski began during the 2014 playoffs. The true freshman wide receiver already had one of the biggest catches in NDSU history when he hauled in a 12-yard game-winning touchdown catch with 54 seconds remaining in the second round as the Bison defeated rival South Dakota State 27-24.
He topped that in the national championship game. In one of the best FCS title games in history, the legend of Carson Wentz also began thanks to his young receiver.
With 1:38 remaining in the game, co-Missouri Valley Football Conference champs Illinois State took a 27-23 lead on NDSU with a Tre Roberson 58-yard touchdown run. The Bison were coming off three straight national championships, lost more than 20 seniors from the season before and had a first-year coaching staff. Many predicted this would be the year NDSU’s run ended. And when Roberson went almost untouched into the endzone, the realities began to set in throughout the crowd.
But the Bison went to work. After a false start penalty, Wentz hit Urzendowski back-to-back for 32 and 13 yards. A few plays later, facing a third-and-10 at the ISU 38-yard line, Wentz floated a pass to Urzendowski in 1-on-1 coverage. Urzendowski adjusted to the ball and caught it at the 5-yard line. The next play, Wentz took it himself to give NDSU the go-ahead score with 37 seconds left.
Senior linebacker Esley Thorton intercepted a Roberson pass to seal the game.