Running back Sam Ojuri rushed 12 times for a career-high 165 yards including a school-record 95 yard touchdown dash, and the special teams and defense each came up with a score as No. 8/11-ranked North Dakota State defeated Saint Francis (Pa.) 56-3 on Saturday, Sept. 10, before 18,341 in the Trees Bowl at the Fargodome.
North Dakota State (2-0) is scheduled to play at Minnesota (1-1) at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, while the Red Flash (0-2) host Morehead State at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17.
The Bison defense snuffed out two early threats by Saint Francis early. Defensive end Scott Stoczynski recovered a fumbled snap on the NDSU 4-yard line. Defensive back John Pike recorded an interception on the NDSU 1-yard line on the next Red Flash possession.
On his fourth carry of the game, Ojuri, a 6-foot, 200-pound junior from Lake in the Hills, Ill., exploded 95 yards for a touchdown with 2:45 left in the first quarter. It broke the record of 91 yards previously set by Pat Paschall against Wagner in 2009. Ojuri made his first collegiate in place of the injured D.J. McNorton.
That lit the fuse for North Dakota State. The Bison scored 21 points in the second quarter and 28 in the third.
Cooper Wahlo, Jr. blocked a punt and returned it 12 yards for a TD with 11:24 left in the second quarter. It was the first blocked punt for a TD since Derrius Colvin went 22 yards against Southern Illinois last season.
NDSU made it 21-0 with 7:42 left on a nifty fake hand-off and 8-yard bolt up the middle by Brock Jensen.
Jensen hooked up on a 22-yard pass to wide receiver Warren Holloway with 18-seconds left to put North Dakota State ahead 28-0 at halftime. Jensen completed 11 of 13 passes for 139 yard, two TDs and no interceptions. Holloway caught four passes for seven yards.
Redshirt freshman Wes Hudson scored twice in the third quarter on TD runs of 10 and 1 yards, while senior tight end Matt Veldman used his 6-foot-7 frame to haul in an 18-yard scoring pass from Jensen. Hudson rushed 10 times for 49 yards.
Another redshirt freshman, linebacker Carlton Littlejohn turned in a defensive gem. Littlejohn intercepted a pass and weaved his way 37 yards for a TD. It was the first interception return for a TD since Marcus Williams scored on 5-yard pick at Eastern Washington last December.
Saint Francis averted the shutout when Josh Thiel hit a 26-yard field goal.
Linebacker Don Carter led the Bison defense with eight tackles. NDSU's defense came up with 12 tackles for loss, seven QB hurries and six sacks.
Saint Francis held a 37:31 to 22:29 edge in time of possession, but NDSU had a 394-182 advantage in total offense. John Kelly completed 8 of 17 passes for 62 yards and two interceptions. Kyle Harbridge was held to 41 yards on 14 carries. Ryan LaDuke made five receptions for 42 yards. Anthony Bowman led the SFU defense with 11 tackles including three tackles for loss and a sack.