Brock Jensen completed a career-high 22 of 25 passes for 204 yards and a touchdow as 3rd-ranked North Dakota State took sole possession of first place in the Missouri Valley Conference with a 27-19 victory over 2nd-ranked Northern Iowa before a sellout crowd of 18,886 in the Fargodome on Saturday, Oct. 29.
It was the second sellout of the season for North Dakota State and the 10th since 2006. NDSU became the first MVFC team to start the season 8-0 since 2007. The Bison defeated UNI for the first time since 1982, losing three straight after the series resumed in 2008.
D.J. McNorton scored on a 6-yard run and an 8-yard pass for the Bison (8-0, 5-0 Valley Football), who are one of two undefeated teams in the FCS, along with Sam Houston State (8-0). McNorton rushed 16 times for 75 yards and caught six passes for 28.
North Dakota State also scored on a 3-yard fumble recovery by Kyle Emanuel. It was the fourth game this season the Bison have scored a defensive TD, the first since Bobby Ollman's pick six against Illinois State on Oct. 1.
Northern Iowa (6-2, 5-1 Valley Football), which was averaging 202 yards rushing per game, was held to 53. David Johnson had 16 yards on 10 carries, but caught 10 passes for 114 yards and a TD.
Tirrell Rennie was 20 of 30 for 224 yards, but threw his first interception of the season -- snapping a school-record streak of 171 passes without an interception dating back to last season.
North Dakota State defensive back John Pike intercepted two passes including one with 1:47 left to seal the win. Pike had a key pass breakup on UNI's first drive to force a field goal. His first interception came with 5:35 left in the third quarter to stop a Panthers drive to the NDSU 21.
Pike's effort typified the North Dakota State defensive effort. Bryan Shepherd led the Bison with seven tackles including four solos and had three pass breakups including one when UNI went for two points after trimming the NDSU lead to 24-19 with 6:51 left in the fourth quarter.
NDSU kicker Ryan Jastram hit a pair of field goals including a 41-yarder with 2:27 remaining in the fourth quarter. Jastram made 3 of 3 extra points and added a pair of tackles.
North Dakota State held a slim 349-345 edge in total offense, but a commanding 36:21 to 23:39 advantage in time of possession.