FRISCO – Penalties and turnovers by Sam Houston State played a big role as North Dakota State earned their second consecutive NCAA Division I Football Championship with a 39-13 victory over the Bearkats at FC Dallas Stadium Saturday.
The Bison converted the miscues in to 441 total yards as game “most valuable player” quarterback Brock Jenson totaled 159 yards total offense including 115 yards rushing and three rushing TDs. Running back Sam Ojuri rushed 14 times for 92 yards and two more scores.
No penalty hurt more than a holding call that wiped out an apparent 37-yard third quarter run into the end zone by Timothy Flanders. The play would have given the Kats a 17-10 lead early in the third quarter.
On the next play Carlton Littlejohn intercepted a pass at the 40-yard line. The turnover set up a 10-play 60-yard drive as Jenson scored from the one to put North Dakota State up 17-10 with 8:30 left in the period. The Bison rolled to 29 second half points.
Sam Houston ended the day with seven penalties for 70 yards including three that gave the Bison first downs. North Dakota State picked off four Sam Houston passes. Three of the turnovers set up scores.
The loss in the Bearkats’ second consecutive NCAA football finals appearance ended Sam Houston’s season with an 11-4 mark.
The No. 1 seed in the 2012 playoffs, North Dakota finished with a 14-1 record. With the win, the Bison join Georgia Southern (1985 & 86 and 1989 & 90), Youngstown State (1993 & 94) and Appalachian State (2005, 06 & 07) to repeat as FCS national champions.
Bearkat quarterback Brian Bell completed 19 of 33 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown. Running back Timothy Flanders led SHSU on the ground with 18 carries for 46 yards. Linebacker Darius Taylor led the Kat defense with 11 tackles including five solo stops.
In a first quarter dominated by the defenses, both teams had field goal opportunities. Sam Houston’s Miguel Antonio was wide right on a 32-yard attempt, then the Bison’s Adam Keller was successful on a 22-yard kick to North Dakota State up 3-0. The score with 3:49 left in the first period was set up by a 57-yard run by John Crockett to the SHSU 23.
Antonio nailed his second field goal attempt just 42 seconds into the second quarter to tie the contest 3-3. A 26-yard Bell pass to Sincere to the Bison 49 was the big play on the 11-play, 55-yard scoring drive.
Marcus Williams 17-yard interception return set up a five-play, 72-yard touchdown drive to put North Dakota State up 10-3 with 3:09 to play before halftime. Three big plays sparked the drive as Jenson rushed 21 yards to the Bearkat 44, Ryan Smith ran 24 to the SHSU 20 and Jenson scored from the 20.
On Jenson’s run into Sam Houston territory, the Kats lost their leading tackler, Darnell Taylor to a leg injury.
Bell’s arm powered the Bearkats to a quick nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive. The junior quarterback completed six passes for 60 yards on the two minute and 36 second series. K. J. Williams caught the final pass for a one-yard score with 33 ticks remaining in the period. Sincere’s 30-yard diving reception at the one was the key play on the scoring march.
After Adam Keller was short on a 50-yard field goal on the half’s final play to leave the score tied 10-10 at intermission.
Driving after Jenson’s go-ahead touchdown in the third period, a Bell fourth down pass at the North Dakota 43-yard line fell incomplete, the Bison drove 65 yards in six plays for another score. Sam Ojuri scored from the one and a two-point conversion pass was successful as NDSU went up 25-10.
The Kat offense responded with an 11-play, 50 yard drive for a 32-yard Antonio field goal as SHSU cut the Bison margin to 25-13 with 13:20 to play in the fourth quarter.
Jenson added another one-yard touchdown after a six-play 65-yard drive as North Dakota State extended its lead with 32-13 with 10:13 to play. Ojuri scored on an 11-yard score with six minutes left.