Jeff Kolpack, Published October 26 2013
Offense rolls for Bison in routTERRE HAUTE, Ind. – The West Coast offense spent almost the entire first half Saturday afternoon going north. North Dakota State was nearly unstoppable.
Quarterback Brock Jensen led the way with a nearly flawless passing performance in the 56-10 victory over Indiana State before 5,009 fans at Memorial Stadium. Jensen took advantage of backup Sycamore cornerbacks and was 13 of 14 for 186 yards and a career-high four touchdowns.
“I was able to see coverages I practiced against during the week and that made my job pretty easy,” Jensen said. “I was able to find guys downfield. The protection was really good and I was able to find gaps in their defense.”
Jensen credited offensive coordinator Brent Vigen for anticipating what the Sycamores were going to throw at NDSU in terms of coverages. It got to the point that NDSU receiver Zach Vraa was so open on a couple of occasions that Jensen said he feared missing the target.
“Sometimes it’s tough as a quarterback hitting a guy wide open because you see all that area,” Jensen said.
Vraa finished with seven catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns in what amounted to about two quarters of action. The Bison reduced the power in their offense in the second half.
NDSU is on a roll. Counting the last two quarters at Southern Illinois and the first two against Indiana State, the Bison won those four particular quarters by a 73-10 margin.
“We felt good coming into the locker room at halftime,” said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl. “We were close to getting everybody in the ballgame.”
Heagle’s touchdown sets impressive tone
The play never looked promising from the start for Indiana State. And when safety Colten Heagle stepped in front of Robert Tonyan Jr.’s pass over the middle, it turned to an offensive disaster.
Heagle returned it 35 yards and the Bison had a quick 14-0 lead just six minutes into the game.
“It was a cover 2 drop and he threw it right to me pretty much,” Heagle said. “Coach Bohl said right away we have to jump on these guys. I thought if we could do that, we could maybe put it away early.”
It was Heagle’s third career interception and the first for a touchdown. He also had one at Indiana State two years ago.
“This must be a hot spot for me I guess,” he said.
That first half was also a shutout of sorts for the Bison defense. The Sycamores were 0 of 8 passing. The touchdown could have factored into that.
“Anytime a quarterback throws a pick-six, it’s hard for a quarterback to overcome,” Bohl said. “It shakes a quarterback up. Certainly you look at the score and things start to mount. It was a huge play by Colten.”
Etc. etc. etc.
NDSU punter Ben LeCompte, ranked fifth in the FCS with a 44.6 average, didn’t have it easy keeping that up. He booted twice against the wind and tried to stick it inside the 20 when he had the breeze at his back. He finished with a 39.7 average on the three kicks. … NDSU spread the ball around with seven players carrying the ball and seven getting at least one catch. … Senior backup safety A.J. Van Voorhis had one of the better games of his career finishing second on the team in tackles with five, which tied linebacker Esley Thorton. … Thorton got the start, but linebacker Carlton Littlejohn got back on the field after missing two games with a knee strain. … Bison freshman Jack Plankers played left tackle in relief of Billy Turner, the third position on the offensive line he’s played this season. He started one game at right tackle for the injured Joe Haeg after opening the season as the backup at right guard.
Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546.
Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found