Eric Peterson, Published November 23 2013
VIDEO: Bison roll over South Dakota, have firm grasp on No. 1 overall seed heading into FCS playoffs
The North Dakota State senior passed for 230 yards and two touchdowns Saturday at Gate City Bank Field. His performance helped spark the No. 1-ranked Bison to a 42-0 victory against the University of South Dakota in Missouri Valley Football Conference play at the Fargodome.
Jensen moved to the top of the career wins list in the history of FCS quarterbacks, surpassing former Appalachian State’s Armanti Edwards. Edwards played from 2006 to 2009.
Jensen has 44 victories in a career that started in 2010.
“Those numbers speak for themselves,” Bison head coach Craig Bohl said. “That has not been an easy schedule that he’s played. … This game is about winning. I don’t think there is a better winner out there than Brock Jensen.”
The Bison (11-0, 7-0 MVFC) completed their regular season unbeaten and likely earned the No. 1 seed for the FCS playoffs. The field will be announced at 10:30 a.m. today on ESPNU, with the playoffs starting next weekend. NDSU, the two-time defending FCS national champions, will have a bye in the first round due to its expected seeding.
“To go undefeated is not easy,” Jensen said. “This conference top to bottom is very good. … We have a lot of season left we hope.”
Jensen added another accomplishment to his storied career. Last week, he set the Bison single-season and career records for touchdown passes and added to both those totals on Saturday. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Jensen has 26 touchdown passes this season and 64 for his career.
Jensen is 43-5 as a starter and added another victory off the bench against Morgan State in 2010. The Bison are 39-2 over the past three seasons with Jensen as the starter.
“That’s a great honor,” Jensen said of the wins record. “It’s a team game. I’ve had the privilege of playing with some great players in my team here. That is why you play the game. You play the game to win.”
Jensen did most of his damage through the air in the first half, completing 13 of 18 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns. He sparked his big day with a deep ball to senior wide receiver Ryan Smith, who used a double move to get open. Smith then ran under a Jensen pass on a scoring play that covered 64 yards. That was the longest catch in Smith’s college career and gave NDSU a 14-0 lead with 4 minutes, 35 seconds to play in the first quarter.
“He’s just a heck of a player, and it’s an honor to catch passes from him,” said Smith, who caught four passes for 111 yards.
Jensen tossed his second touchdown of the first half with just seconds remaining in the second quarter. Jensen found junior wide receiver Zach Vraa open in the end zone from 22 yards out. That gave NDSU a 28-0 lead with 3 seconds to play until halftime.
“We got shook down for our lunch money today,” Coyotes head coach Joe Glenn said.
The four first-half touchdowns were more than enough for a Bison defense that limited the Coyotes to 214 yards and 11 first downs. NDSU had two interceptions and also got two sacks from senior defensive end Cole Jirik. After the game, the 6-foot-5, 248-pound Jirik was asked if this was the best defense he’s played on during his Bison career.
“I don’t know if it is the best or not yet,” said Jirik, who is a three-year starter. “We’ll see.”
For a second straight game, the Bison had two players rush for at least 100 yards. Senior running back Sam Ojuri rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 14 attempts Saturday. John Crockett added 116 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
“We’re on that steady incline of getting better every game,” Jensen said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.
Peterson’s blog can be found at peterson.areavoices.com