NDSU Defeats YSU in a Blowout
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 13:10
Going into the game against Youngstown State, a lot of pressure was put on the No. 1 ranked NDSU football program. NDSU’s starting junior running back Sam Ojuri was serving a one game suspension, forcing sophomore John Crocket into the starting role. Plus, the third ranked YSU Penguins were the only team to beat the Bison last season on their championship run. NDSU overcame this pressure and earned some payback, beating YSU in front of a record crowd of 19,065 in the Fargodome.
“It was in the back of our minds,” junior quarterback Brock Jensen said. “We realize that they came in last year and stole one from us at the dome. We just didn’t want that to happen again and we did everything we could last week in practice to prepare for this game.”
NDSU had an exceptional start after they kicked the ball off. On the first play from scrimmage, their defense forced a fumble and recovered in Penguin territory. The Bison took over and nearly had a fumble of their own when Jensen mishandled the ball near the goal line on a scramble, but was quickly scooped up by NDSU. The Bison capped off their first drive with a one yard touchdown run from John Crockett, giving the Bison an early 7-0 lead.
“We came out of the gate hot just like we talked about,” Jensen said.
The Penguins replied with a scoring drive of their own, which ended with a one yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Kurt Hess to junior tight end Carson Sharbaugh to make the score 7-7.
The Bison kept their poise and struck right back. Jensen kept looking for the deep bomb, and finally got it on a 46 yard flea flicker to sophomore wide receiver Zach Vraa for a Bison score.
“It was a great play call,” Jensen said. “A play like that has to be called at the right time for it to work.”
After the Adam Keller extra point, it was 14-7. YSU and NDSU kept battling it out during a couple of exchanged punts, bringing an end to the first quarter.
At the beginning of the second quarter, the Penguins took a drive to deep into Bison territory. The Penguins were threatening to score until Hess’s pass was intercepted by junior cornerback Marcus Williams, who took it back 98 yards for a score.
“It gave us a lot of momentum,” junior middle linebacker Grant Olson said on the interception. “Big time players make big time plays and that’s what he did.”
It was William’s 14th pick of his career, and he’s now tied with Rudy Baranko for second on NDSU’s all time interception list.
On the ensuing possession, NDSU held the Penguins to a three-and-out and got the ball back on their own 27-yard line. The Bison methodically marched back downfield with a poised assault. Crockett led the Bison on the drive with five carries for 40 yards, and broke many tackles along the way. Bison converted on the eleventh play of the possession with a one yard punch in by Crockett, giving him his second touchdown of the day.
“We just wanted to play great football,” Jensen said. “We were clicking on all cylinders.”
This added to the Bison lead, giving them a 28-7 advantage with 1:45 left in the second quarter.
After the following kickoff, sophomore linebacker Carlton Littlejohn picked off Hess with the first play of YSU’s drive. This gave Hess his second interception of the game and in the entire season. Three Bison plays later, Jensen hit junior wide receiver Ryan Smith for a touchdown, Jensen’s second touchdown pass on the day. With Keller’s point after kick, it gave the Bison a commanding lead of 35-7 going into halftime.
“We showed how great of football team we can be if we stay consistent throughout the game,” Smith said. “It was a lot of fun today.”
At halftime, the Bison led the Penguins 250-162 in total yards. NDSU also won the first half turnover differential 3-0. All of those turnovers led to touchdowns for the Bison.
The Bison kept the charge going into the third quarter. The Bison kept their balanced attack and got into YSU territory yet again. This was close enough for Keller to boot it for his career high of 49 yards, which gave the Bison a 38-7 lead. That 36 yard drive from NDSU drained nearly half of the third quarter.
“We just played how we wanted to play,” Jensen said. “I thought that was important for us to do early on.”
After the Bison forced another three-and-out, the Penguins punted it to Smith, who returned it for a 76 yard score.
The Penguins responded with a drive in the Bison’s red zone, but was stopped when Hess was sacked on fourth down.
“We kind of got into a rhythm, but they were constantly harassing our quarterback,” YSU head coach Eric Wolford said. “That was something that got Kurt (Hess) a little frustrated. Anytime you can harass a quarterback with a defensive line, you’re going to create problems.”
The turnover of downs kept the Bison’s lead to 45-7 going into the fourth quarter.
NDSU ran the ball out for most of the final quarter, getting into position for another Keller field goal early in the fourth to give the Bison an even larger lead. The backups came in and finished the job out for the Bison and held the score to the same for the rest of the game. The Bison ended the blowout 48-7 against YSU.
The Bison are 5-0 and are 2-0 in the Missouri Valley Conference. NDSU will play against Indiana State at home next Saturday.
“There’s a lot of football left to play,” NDSU head coach Craig Bohl said. “But we have a good football team.”