Bison roll up 623 yards in beating Coastal Carolina 48-14 in FCS quarterfinals. This team is darn good. With the way they are playing the only FCS team I see having a chance of beating them right now might be Eastern Washington who upset then #25 Oregon State the same weekend NDSU beat Kansas State. We’ll have to see how things play out. But, if they win their third straight title, I’d have to consider this the All-time best NDSU Bison team in the history of the school.
NDSU opened the season on the road with an upset win over defending Big 12 champion Kansas State. That final drive is really indicative of what this team is like. At the beginning of that 18 play (nearly 9 minute) drive it doesn’t look so good. But, Brock Jensen gets the team into position to succeed. By the end of the drive, it’s the Bison offensive line that is looking good, and the K-State defense is standing around with their hands on their hips trying to figure out what’s going on. The fans in the stands just look shell shocked. But, that is what the Bison do to you. They wear you down. Against Coastal Carolina they did it early, and just continued throughout the game. And, the NDSU defense is stifling. They held the #3 ranked offense to 29 yards in the first quarter, and under 300 for the game. They’ve been doing this to teams all season. Outside of Kansas State, the only team close to them was Northern Iowa who they beat 24-23. No one else has been closer than 15 points all season.
Jensen is the best quarterback this program has ever seen. And, that is saying something with a team that has had Kevin Feeney, Steve Walker, Chris Simdorn (Harlon Hill winner) and Jeff Bentrim (Harlon Hill winner). He already has the most career wins in FCS history at 46. He’s a two time National Champion (MVP of last years game). He’s surrounded by a great complement of players. Sam Ojuri (1239) and John Crocket (996) churn up yards. Zach Vraa (1064 + 13 TDs) and Ryan Smith (661) both have 50 or more receptions. And the defense is one of the best in the nation, any division. The line is solid, the linebackers in Littlejohn, Beck and Olson are the strength of the team. And I don’t know why anyone bothers throwing in Marcus Williams’ direction anymore. You’d think 7 returns for TD would scare everyone away.
I really want to see this team win it’s third straight FCS championship (11th in all divisions). It would be a great way for this senior laden team to go out. And, it would be a great sendoff for coach Craig Bohl as he heads to Wyoming. The timing of that announcement left a lot to be desired, coming as it did in the middle of the playoffs. But the team still seems to be focused and playing well.
Bring on New Hampshire. Roll Herd!