It felt pretty early in the season to have the number one ranked team take on number three, but it certainly lived up to the hype with the North Dakota State Bison holding off South Dakota State to remain unbeaten.

NDSU (4-0) matched up with SDSU (2-1) for the first conference game of the season at the Fargodome and both teams came ready to play. NDSU quarterback Easton Stick threw two touchdowns passes and ran for another to lead the Bison to a 21-17 victory over the Jackrabbits.

SDSU struck first in the opening quarter on their second possession with a 10 play, 89-yard drive that ended with a Cade Johnson 3-yard touchdown reception from Taryn Christion to make it 7-0.

In the second quarter, on a 3rd and 21 at the SDSU 39, Stick ran 22 yards to move the chains for the Bison. On the very next play, he threw a touchdown to Ben Ellefson to make it a 7-7 game. Two possessions later, Stick threw a 41-yard score to Darrius Shepard and just like that, the Bison were up 14-7. They would take that lead into the half.

A third-quarter interception thrown by Stick gave the Jackrabbits some momentum before they settled for a Chase Vinatieri 39-yard field goal to cut into the lead at 14-10. On the Jackrabbits next possession, running back Isaac Wallace broke free for a 61-yard touchdown run to make it 17-14 in favor of SDSU.

NDSU responded with an 8 play, 80-yard drive that would end in a Stick 5-yard run for a touchdown to take the lead for good at 21-17 just two minutes into the fourth quarter.

The Jackrabbits missed a 48-yard field goal on their next possession and never threatened after that with NDSU running out the final 3:32 of the game on offense.

The win gives the Dakota Marker trophy to the North Dakota State Bison.

Stick finished 9 of 20 for 182 yards. Shepard had 118 yards receiving on 5 catches. Christion was 19 of 29 for 202 yards, a touchdown and an interception for SDSU, while Wallace ran for 110 yards on just 9 carries. Adam Anderson added 8 catches for 102 yards for the Jackrabbits.

Next Saturday, the top-ranked Bison will play at Northern Iowa (2-2, 1-0) at 1 p.m.