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Jeff Kolpack, Published December 08 2012

Touchdown late in first half holds up as game winner

FARGO – It was a 97-yard drive that took just under four minutes. It didn’t seem like it at the time, but the touchdown pass from quarterback Brock Jensen to receiver Zach Vraa held up as the North Dakota State game winner Saturday.

Nobody scored in the second half in NDSU’s 14-7 win before 18,267 fans at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. The 16-yard toss came with 1 minute, 2 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

“We marched down the field and found a way to punch it in,” Jensen said.

Jensen had the key play, running 39 yards on a designed keeper on third-and-7, which reached the Terrier 43.

“It was well blocked, I cut it up and had a lot of open field in front of me,” Jensen said. “I did get caught from behind, which was depressing.”

The touchdown came when Jensen scrambled to elude a Wofford rush and then rifled a pass to an open Vraa cutting across the middle.

Vraa finished with five catches for 49 yards, his most productive day since the Youngstown State game in early October. He missed a few weeks with a shoulder injury.

“Zach got it going today,” Jensen said. “He had some great catches out there.”

The drive was aided by two pass interference penalties, both on third down. The second, on third-and-8, gave the Bison a first down at the 16-yard line.

“That helped,” said Bison head coach Craig Bohl. “Ninety-seven yards is a really great drive. That changed the complexion of the game.”

Breitenstein first back over 100 vs. Bison

The Bison defense kept the Terrier offense out of the end zone, but it didn’t keep a running back from gaining at least 100 yards for the first time this season. Wofford’s Eric Breitenstein had 135 yards on 24 carries.

The last time that happened was against Western Illinois, which put two backs over 100 yards in the last regular-season game of last season. Indiana State’s Shakir Bell had the previous high this year with 96 on 26 carries in Indiana State’s 17-14 win, the only loss for 12-1 NDSU this season.

“That’s a pretty good thing, that says a lot for our offensive line,” Breitenstein said. “I think we have the best offensive line in the country across the board. These guys make it easy for me. Even against a good team, they were able to open a seam for me. But in the end, it doesn’t matter. It’s not enough because we’re going home to Spartanburg.”

Breitenstein had a long run of 39 yards, which came late in the third quarter. It reached the Bison 42-yard line as part of a drive that – thanks to a pair of fourth-down conversions – reached the 7. A blocked field goal ended the march.

Etc. etc. etc.

NDSU receiver Ryan Smith left the game with a strained calf, Bohl said. He said his status for next week is not certain. Bohl said there were no other immediate injuries that he was aware of … Had Wofford scored late in the game, head coach Mike Ayers said the Terriers would have gone for the two-point conversion. … Anthony LaVoy’s blocked field goal was the first since Ryan Drevlow did it at Colorado State the second game of the year. … Wofford went with three quarterbacks, with starter Brian Kass leaving with an injury in the second half. … In an oddity, the Terriers did not attempt a pass in the first half, but were effective in the second half, going 6 of 7 for 64 yards.

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

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found

at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia