Jeff Kolpack, Published September 20 2013
Bison kicker/punter aims for perfectionFARGO – Every day for more than two weeks in fall practice, North Dakota State sophomore Ben LeCompte worked on target practice with his kickoffs. Specifically, he had to land high, short kickoffs into a hoop placed on the 30-yard line.
“He demanded perfection,” LeCompte said of head coach Craig Bohl, who handles the kickers.
Perfection was performed on national television. The reason for the pooch kickoffs was to keep the ball away from Kansas State’s Tyler Lockett, its dangerous returner who has returned four for touchdowns in his career. Lockett never did get a chance in NDSU’s 24-21 win in the season opener.
“We went down to Kansas State and showed it really worked,” LeCompte said.
What also worked were LeCompte’s punts that kept the Wildcats in poor field position. He put three of his kicks inside the
20-yard line, which is becoming a specialty.
The Wildcats had to start at their 3-, 8-, and 12-yard lines. He stuck his only punt against Ferris State out of bounds at the 13.
Those plays are somewhat of a home run in the special teams game.
“I think it’s a huge momentum swing and it helps the defense,” LeCompte said. “It helps the team emotionally and it helps the morale. If I can continue to do that, I think the defense will continue to make strides and be better than it was last year.”
So after two games, LeCompte is off to a good start following a solid freshman season. Included in his offseason workouts were going to the track and working on ball drops around the entire 400 meters.
“The leg swing and drop are the two most fundamental parts of punting,” he said.
Jensen within sight of Walker’s school record for completions
Quarterback Brock Jensen has completed 40 of 53 passes for an accuracy of 76 percent. That includes a 14 of 15 showing in the second half at Kansas State.
Jensen needs 11 completions to pass Steve Walker to become the school’s all-time leader in completions with 536.
He passed Walker’s attempts mark of 841 last week.
“Brock is as confident right now as he’s ever been,” Bohl said. “The receivers are catching the ball well, and the offensive line is doing a good job.”
The passing game, unlike when Jensen was a freshman, has kept opposing defenses from putting too many players in tight to stop the run.
The Bison have also generally avoided third-and-long situations the last couple of years.
“That makes a big, big impact,” Bohl said.
Etc. etc. etc.
It’s the first meeting between NDSU and Delaware State. The Bison are 1-0 against Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference teams, beating Morgan State (Md.) 35-9 in 2010.
The Hornets are 1-7 all-time against the Missouri Valley Football Conference, with the last time a 49-0 loss at then No. 1-ranked Southern Illinois in 2004. The one victory was 33-29 against Youngstown State in 1991.
NDSU is expected to be at full strength with the possible exception of backup cornerback Jordan Champion, who strained his MCL at Kansas State.
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at 701) 241-5546.
Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia