FCS Playoffs: North Dakota Falls to Richmond
UND lost a 17-point second half lead and fell to rallying Richmond, 27-24.
In their first ever FCS playoff appearance, the Fighting Hawks came out in the first half ready to play. Unfortunately, the second half didn't go nearly the same way for UND.
With just over ten minutes to play in the third quarter, UND had a 24-7 lead and looked like they were on their way to their first ever FCS playoff victory. Richmond quarterback Kevin Johnson had other ideas. In just his second start of the season, Johnson led the Spiders to 20 unanswered points, including an 18-yard game winning field goal from Griffin Trau as time expired.
The first quarter saw UND take a 7-0 lead when Brady Oliveria broke into the end zone from 4 yards out. Richmond would tie it on the next possession with a 79-yard touchdown strike from Johnson to Brian Brown.
In the second quarter, North Dakota struck next with a long 69-yard pass play to Demun Mercer from Keaton Studsrud. A 43-yard field goal by Reid Taubenheim made it 17-7 at the half.
UND would strike first in the third quarter on another connection to Demun Mercer on a throw by Studsrud from 16 yards out. Then it was all Richmond from there on out. Kevin Johnson would take over, scoring on a run from 9 yards out, making the score 24-14.
In the fourth quarter, a 37-yard field goal by Trau made it a one-possession game with just over ten minutes remaining. Five minutes later, Richmond scored again on a on 8-yard touchdown throw from Johnson to Garrett Hudson, to tie it, 24-24. Richmond then would put together a game-winning drive, getting down to UND's 1-yard line before Trau kicked the game-winning field goal, as time expired.
Richmond advances to play Eastern Washington next week in the quarterfinals.
UND finishes its season at 9-3. Congrats to the Fighting Hawks on a great season, which included their first Big Sky Conference Title and first ever FCS Playoff appearance.