- Associated Press - Saturday, October 22, 2016

MACOMB, Ill. (AP) - North Dakota State shook off last week’s last-second loss to South Dakota State to beat Western Illinois 21-13 on Saturday night.

The Bison intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble in the end zone, while holding the Leathernecks to 269 total yards.

“They’re huge,” NDSU coach Chris Klieman said of the road win. “They’re all difficult. Our defense really stepped up and made some critical plays.”

King Frazier ran 20 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns and Easton Stick shook off two interceptions to pass for 160 yards and a score.

The fourth-ranked Bison (6-1, 3-1 Missouri Valley Conference) have not lost back-to-back games since ending a five-game losing streak in 2009.

“That was a tough loss and it feels like forever to get back on the field and once you do you want to take advantage of the opportunities and make some plays,” said NDSU receiver Darrius Shepherd, who had three catches for 74 yards.

NDSU set the tone on their first possession, marching 63 yards in four plays to go ahead 7-0 on a 3-yard run by Frazier with 10 minutes left in the first quarter.

The Leathernecks responded with a pair of drives similar to those by South Dakota State a week before.

First, they went 67 yards in 16 plays down to the NDSU 11 only to settle for a 29-yard Nathan Knuffman field goal. After Adam Brott intercepted a Stick pass at the NDSU 32, the Leathernecks (5-2, 2-2) drove down to the Bison 10 before Knuffman kicked a 28-yard field goal.

In the fourth quarter, Western Illinois had two attempts inside the NDSU 1 to get within a two-point conversion. But quarterback Sean McGuire fumbled the snap twice, the second recovered by NDSU in the end zone.

“We pride ourselves on bending and not breaking,” linebacker Matt Plank said. “We expected that QB sneak and we made a big stop.”

Frazier scored on a 1-yard run with 3:25 left in the half to make it 14-6 and with 1:43 to play, Stick tossed a 17-yard TD pass to Jeff Illies to make it 21-6.

With four seconds left, Knuffman’s 41-yard field goal attempt was blocked.

The Leathernecks opened the second half with Jamie Gilmore’s 3-yard touchdown run with 8:56 left in the third quarter. And minutes later, Darron Wheeler intercepted a Stick pass and took it back to the Bison 19. That momentum died with a second blocked field goal attempt, this time from 33 yards with 5:37 left in the third quarter.

NDSU took over on the 20 and moved the ball to the WIU 11 before a bad snap led to a missed Bison field goal.

The Leathernecks threatened with just over eight minutes to play, but McGuire fumbled and NDSU recovered in the end zone.

Western Illinois had one last chance but McGuire’s first-down pass was intercepted by Trey Dempsey to end the Leathernecks’ hopes.

McGuire was 19-for-27 for 183 yards and led WIU in rushing with 37 yards.

NDSU held WIU to 86 yards rushing.

WIU’s Lance Lenoir caught seven passes for 61 yards. He is one catch away from the MVFC reception record of 250 by Tyrone Walker of Illinois State (2009-12).

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