- North Dakota State capped its first undefeated regular season since 1990 and cemented its case for the nation's top overall seed in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs with a 42-0 victory over South Dakota in the Missouri Valley Football Conference on Saturday, Nov. 23.
Brock Jensen passed for two touchdowns and running backs Sam Ojuri and John Crockett each rushed for a pair of touchdowns as North Dakota State (11-0, 8-0 MVFC) extended its winning streak to 20 games, including 11 in a row at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
Crockett's scoring runs both went for 28 yards, Ojuri scored from 1 yard to cap a 12-play, 95-yard drive and exploded for 55 yards on a two-play scoring drive. Ryan Smith caught a career-long 64-yard pass on a one-play scoring strike and Zach Vraa tied the NDSU record with his 11th TD catch of the year on a 22-yard pass from Jensen.
NDSU's defense, ranked second in the FCS, posted its second straight shutout of South Dakota after a 54-0 win last year. The Bison have three shutouts for the first time since the 1997 team held four opponents scoreless. USD (4-8, 3-5 MVFC) entered NDSU territory only twice before a punt and an interception in the end zone by Christian Dudzik.
Middle linebacker Carlton Littlejohn led the NDSU defense with 10 tackles and an interception, left end Cole Jirik had two sacks, cornerback CJ Smith broke up two passes, and linemen Brian Schaetz and Mike Hardie each had a pair of quarterback hurries.
Smith, who caught four passes for 111 yards, surpassed T.R. McDonald for fourth place in career receptions at NDSU and now has 136 catches for 1,596 yards. Eight receivers caught passes for NDSU and Jensen finished 16 of 22 with 230 yards passing.
Ojuri went over 1,000 yards rushing for the third season (1,002) and moved past Tony Satter for fifth place all-time in rushing at NDSU now with 3,298 yards. The Bison rushed for 296 yards and outgained USD 553-214 in total offense.
USD quarterback Kevin Earl was 10-for-26 for 101 yards and Jordan Roberts ran for 107 yards on 20 carries. Roberts is just the third player to rush for at least 100 yards against the NDSU defense this year.
North Dakota State, the automatic qualifier from the Missouri Valley Football Conference, is expected to receive a first-round bye in the FCS playoffs. The top eight seeds and full 24-team bracket will be announced on the NCAA selection show at 10:30 a.m. CST on ESPNU television Sunday, Nov. 24.