Bison Advance With 28-3 Win over South Dakota State
Release: December 01, 2012
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FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Brock Jensen accounted for three touchdowns and North Dakota State clamped down on the leading rusher in the division to defeat South Dakota State 28-3 on Saturday, Dec. 1, before 18,428 fans at Gate City Bank Field in the second round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
The defending FCS champions spotted the Jackrabbits a field goal late in the first quarter and then dominated the final three frames. The Bison held Zach Zenner to 46 yards rushing on 15 carries, more than 120 yards below his FCS-leading average.
The win came three weeks after NDSU held off the Jacks 20-17 in a regular-season matchup.
“Our guys are vets in the playoffs. There’s just a different look in their eye,” NDSU head coach Craig Bohl said. “Once we get to postseason play they’re kicking it into a different gear.”
North Dakota State (11-1) is scheduled to host Wofford College (9-3) at 2 p.m. Central on Saturday, Dec. 8, in a FCS quarterfinal playoff game at Gate City Bank Field. Wofford defeated New Hampshire 23-7 on Saturday.
“North Dakota State is a great football team,” said SDSU linebacker Ross Shafrath, who finished with a game-high 18 tackles. “They’ve got a great offense and a great defense. I expect that they’ll go pretty far in this tournament.”
Jensen, a junior from Waupaca, Wis., threw a pair of touchdown passes to tight end Garrett Bruhn, who had not played since Oct. 6 because of a high ankle sprain. Bruhn had one catch for 23 yards this season and only one touchdown in his career before hauling in passes of 12 and 9 yards from Jensen.
The Bison added a trick play for good measure when diminutive wide receiver Ryan Smith took a handoff from Jensen, took cover behind one of his offensive linemen and scampered 32 yards untouched on an end around in the second quarter. Most of the SDSU defenders and the 18,482 fans inside the Fargodome had their eyes on Jensen.
“Ryan stood there with the ball for a couple seconds. He took off and there was no one within 40 yards of him,” Jensen said. “All 11 guys for South Dakota State thought I had the ball.”
The Jackrabbits scored first on a 26-yard field goal by Justin Syrovatka late in the first quarter. The Bison responded with a six-play, 75-yard drive, capped by the 12-yard touchdown pass from Jensen to Bruhn, to take the lead.
Smith’s run polished off a 53-yard drive midway through the second quarter, and Jensen added a 2-yard touchdown run to finish off a 52-yard march and make it 21-3 at halftime.
The Bison, who led the nation in total defense, held Zenner to 15 yards rushing in the first half. His longest run was 17 yards at the start of the third quarter. Zenner said he made some mistakes with his reads but added, “I guess I would credit them for tackling well.”
NDSU’s John Crockett rushed for 90 yards on 11 carries. The Bison stayed on the ground for most of the second half but scored the only touchdown on a 9-yard pass from Jensen to Bruhn.
The Bison finished with a 328-217 edge in yards of total offense and held the ball for nearly 16 more minutes than the Jacks.
“We had opportunities, we just didn’t capitalize,” SDSU quarterback Austin Sumner said. “You’ve got to give credit to their defense. They’re a solid group of guys and they’re well coached.”
John Stiegelmeier, the SDSU head coach, called the outcome a “tremendous disappointment” and apologized for being late to the postgame press conference.
“That was too tough of a locker room to get here in 10 minutes,” he said.