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MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) Junior Bergen returned a fourth-quarter punt for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass in the first overtime and threw for a 2-point conversion on a trick play in the second overtime to put Montana in the FCS Championship game with a wild 31-29 semifinal win over North Dakota State on Saturday.

Bergen's toss to Keelan White on an end-around right was duplicated by the Bison after their score, but Corbin Walker intercepted RaJa Nelson, sending the Grizzlies to the final game for the first time since 2009.

Montana (13-1), the second seed with 10 straight wins, will face top-seeded and defending champion South Dakota State (14-0), owner of a 28-game winning streak, in Frisco, Texas, on Jan. 7.

“I'll have to get him rushing the passer next time,” Montana coach Bobby Hauck joked about Bergan, who had kickoff- and punt-return touchdowns a week earlier in a 35-28 overtime win against Furman. “He's a special kid. Obviously his teammates work awfully hard for him.”

The game drew a Montana playoff record crowd of 26,544. The last time NDSU played in Missoula it was the nationally televised kickoff classic in 2015 and the Griz beat Carson Wentz and the Bison 38-35. NDSU won the rematch in the playoffs 37-6.

Montana used three carries by Eli Gillman, the last covering 12 yards, before Bergen's conversion pass that came after he pulled out of a potential tackle as his facemask was grabbed.

Cole Payton ran for 12 yards before TK Marshall ran for 15 and then a 2-yard score for the Bison but their trick play failed.

“First of all, congratulations to North Dakota State,” Hauck said. “Matt Entz is a great football coach. He's had an unbelievable run there. He's special, he has a special program. I think we do, too. I'm so proud of our guys. Back-to-back overtime games. Their guys fight, our guys just fight. I knew it was going to be a dang battle to the finish and it was.”

Entz is leaving North Dakota State (11-4) to coach linebackers and be an assistant defensive coach at Southern California.

Payton, North Dakota State's running quarterback, went 25 yards untouched on the first snap of overtime and Bergen turned a short pass from Clifton McDowell into a 22-yard touchdown on the third snap to force a second extra period.

It was also the second overtime this postseason for North Dakota State. The Bison beat Montana State 35-34 in the second round by blocking an extra point.

The Bison forced overtime with an 81-yard drive that ended with Cam Miller throwing a 9-yard touchdown pass to Eli Green with 51 seconds left. The drive was kept alive with an 18-yard run by Kaedin Steindorf on a fake punt that included a 15-yard penalty tacked on for unnecessary roughness. That put the ball at the UM 43-yard line and later the Griz had their second penalty of the game, a 14-yard pass interference call, two plays before the TD pass.

Bergen's 47-yard punt return put Montana up 16-9 with 11:22 left in regulation, but the Griz missed the extra point. Montana also missed a 45-yard field goal just before the punt return when Jake Kava blew up a play and pushed the Grizzlies back 14 yards to the 28.

Most of the game was an evenly matched defensive battle.

The Bison scored on the game-opening possession, a 63-yard drive highlighted by Green's amazing one-handed grab for 35 yards, a play he almost duplicated in the end zone before settling for Griffin Crosa's 30-yard field goal.

The Grizzlies scored on their second drive with Gillman's 3-yard run capping a 16-play, 87-yard march that chewed up 7:53. A sacked forced them to kick a field goal on their next possession.

North Dakota State answered that with Crosa's 35-yard field goal on the last play of the half to trail 10-6.

Miller, who led the FCS with a 75% completion rate, was 9 of 22 for 157 yards. The Bison finished with 345 total yards. A team that had converted better than 50% of its third downs was 3 of 13.

McDowell was 16-of-30 passing for 160 yards and the Grizzlies had 284 total yards.

Montana won national titles in 1995 and 2001. The Bison reached the title game 10 of the previous 12 seasons, winning nine before losing 45-21 to South Dakota State last year.

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