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Jeff Kolpack, Published December 10 2011

Dudzik’s pick big in victory

FARGO – It took 13 games, but North Dakota State freshman cornerback Christian Dudzik finally got in on the Bison defensive turnover party. His interception at the tail end of the first half was a pivotal play in NDSU’s 24-0 win over Lehigh on Saturday in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision quarterfinals.

Trailing 14-0, the Mountain Hawks were on the verge of a momentum surge starting with an interception by cornerback Kenyatta Drake with 1:34 left. Starting from their own

38-yard line, quarterback Chris Lum hit receiver Jimmy Jefferson for 20 yards and the Hawks were at the Bison 40.

After an incompletion, Dudzik stepped in front of a Lum pass and returned it 42 yards.

“I was hoping to score on it but I got hawked from behind I guess,” he said.

The play resulted in a 31-yard Ryan Jastram field goal with5 seconds left in the half, and it was NDSU that had the momentum at halftime leading 17-0.

“It was a good play by the corner,” Lum said, “and a bad read on my part.”

Bison switch Lund, Richard against a 3-4 defense

The Bison went back to an offensive line look they used previously against a 3-4 defense, which uses three down linemen and four linebackers. Left guard Austin Richard and center Joe Lund switched positions, mainly to get the bigger Richard against 6-2, 290-pound Lehigh noseguard Sajjad Chagani.

“They had a strong noseguard, the guy can bench 430 pounds,” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl.

Bohl said the decision was made in a consultation with offensive line coach Scott Fuchs and offensive coordinator Brent Vigen. They used both looks in practice before deciding on Richard at center.

It was a switch made after NDSU struggled at Southern Illinois, which has a 3-4 defense, in the fifth game of the year.

Smith misses another

game with hamstring

For the second straight game, receiver Ryan Smith tried to play with a strained hamstring, but eventually couldn’t get up to speed.

“That saga goes on and on,” Bohl said.

It appeared on Thursday that Smith would be healed enough to play, but Bohl said it wasn’t at least 90 percent healthy and that won’t work at a skill position.

“We hope he can bounce back,” Bohl said.

Otherwise, NDSU suffered no apparent serious injuries.

Etc. etc. etc.

NDSU will find out today if the Georgia Southern game will be on Friday or Saturday. The Division I Championship Committee is meeting this morning to make the decision in consultation with the NCAA and ESPN. … NDSU’s last shutout was 2006 when it beat Mississippi Valley 45-0. … Senior Warren Holloway tied his career high in receptions with eight. … The key interception by Preston Evans in the second half was a career first for the senior.

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia