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Jeff Kolpack, Published November 03 2012

Opposing defense gives Bison offense fits in victory

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – North Dakota State won the first half. Missouri State won the second half.

The result was a 21-17 Bison victory before 6,253 fans at Plaster Field that left NDSU tied for first place with South Dakota State in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.

A different defensive style caused the Bison problems. NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen was 14 of 28 passing with three interceptions, with eight players acting as defensive backs causing problems.

“They chose to rush three and drop eight and that’s a kiss of death for a quarterback to drop eight,” said NDSU offensive coordinator Brent Vigen. “Early on he was able to take the underneath route.”

The biggest problem, Vigen said, was NDSU’s so-so production on first and second down. Mike Crutcher’s interception in the fourth quarter came on third-and-10.

Both of Caleb Schaffitzel’s picks came on third down – one on third-and-goal at the 4 and the other on third-and-8.

“We have to look at first and second down production because you can only make so many plays on third and long,” Vigen said.

Another big day for Missouri State safety

Schaffitzel, a safety, turned in his second straight big-play week. He backed up his two-interception game against Western Illinois last week with another pair on Saturday, including returning a Jensen pass 100 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.

Schaffitzel garnered Missouri Valley Football Defensive Player of the Week honors last week and will probably be in the hunt for it again. With the Bison facing third-and-goal from the 4, he read Jensen’s pass to the right flat, picked it off and headed the other way.

“I don’t know if he didn’t see me coming,” Schaffitzel said.

Jensen had the only shot at him, missing a tackle near midfield.

It set a school record for longest interception return. It was also the fourth 100-yard interception return in Missouri Valley history with the last by Indiana State’s Brian Jackson in 2006.

“He’s a special young man,” said MSU head coach Terry Allen. “You couldn’t ask more from a kid.”

Offensive adjustment helped MSU in 2nd half

Missouri State was the second straight Bison opponent that came into the game with three straight wins. Allen wanted a shot at the end to make it four in a row and he got it.

An offensive adjustment with its running game in the second half was one reason.

“What essentially we did is we took our five and block your five,” Allen said. “And we went more up-tempo.”

That tempo, Allen said, is one reason the Bears have matched up well with NDSU for the most part.

“They don’t like a fast-paced offense,” he said. “We can do some things. They’re a more traditional offense and we stood in there pretty well with that.”

Etc. etc. etc.

Bison head coach Craig Bohl said he was not immediately aware of any sustainable injuries for the Bison. Running back John Crockett, who has been battling a hip pointer injury, did not play much of the second half. Fullback Andrew Grothmann also got nicked up. … NDSU’s 85-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter was its longest of the season, surpassing a 16-play, 82-yard march against Indiana State. … Bison linebacker Grant Olson’s 13 tackles was the third time he’s been in double digits this season and the fourth time in his career.

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia