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Second Half Surge Lifts No. 1 North Dakota State Over Furman In FCS Playoffs, 38-7

Marcus Anderson
Marcus Anderson

Furman Football Versus NDSU Postgame Interviews

FARGO, N.D. -- Brock Jensen passed for 249 yard and two touchdowns and scored on a 53-yard run, and the No. 1 ranked North Dakota State Bison used a 21-point third quarter to run away from Furman, 38-7, in Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) second round playoff action Saturday afternoon at the Fargodome.

The win advances North Dakota State (12-0), the two-time defending national champion and Missouri Valley Conference Football title holder, into the quarterfinal round of the playoffs while the loss ends the season for Furman (8-6), which claimed the program's 13th Southern Conference championship on the way to making its first playoff appearance since 2006.

Jensen completed 15-of-25 passes, including a 52-yard second quarter scoring strike to Zach Vraa and 7-yard toss to Andrew Bonnet in NDSU's decisive 21-point third quarter, to key the Bison to their 21st consecutive victory.  Jensen wrapped up his solid performance with a 53-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter to account for game's final points.

Reese Hannon paced Furman by completing 19-of-29 passes for 225 yards, and sophomore wide receiver Jordan Snellings had his best game as a Paladin, catching eight passes for 76 yards.

On their second possession, the Paladins appeared set to grab the game's first lead after moving 94 yards in 17 plays to the North Dakota State 1, but on fourth down quarterback Reese Hannon's attempted sneak into the end zone was ruled short of the goal line — a decision upheld after review from a camera placed at the 2-yard line.

From that point NDSU fashioned its longest drive of the season, using 10 plays to register the game's first score, which came on Jensen's 52-yard connection down the sideline to a streaking Vraa.

The Paladins answered on their next possession with a 1-yard Marcus Anderson touchdown plunge that capped a seven-play, 75-yard march to tie the game at 7-7.

A 25-yard pass from Hannon to Andrej Suttles gave Furman a first down at the 50 with just over two minutes remaining in the first half, but three incompletions led to a Ray Early punt that rolled out of bounds at the Bison 12 with 1:16 to go before intermission.

The proved to be just enough time for Jensen, who moved the Bison 68 yards to the Furman 20, where Adam Keller booted a 37-yard field goal on the final play of the first half to give the Bison a 10-7 lead.

The game turned in the third quarter as the Bison found the end zone of their two offensive possessions via a 3-yard scoring run by Sam Ojuri and 7-yard touchdown strike from Jenesen to Bonnet for a 24-7 lead.  NDSU then sealed the game's outcome when Marcus Williams stepped in front of a pass and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown for a 31-7 advantage.

North Dakota State finished the game with 527 yards, rushing for 267 yards and passing for 249.  Jensen accounted for 335 of NDSU's total, including a game high 86 on the ground.

Carl Rider led all defenders with 11 tackles, and Marcus McMorris had nine stops, including two for-loss.

The contest marked the final collegiate game for 10 Furman seniors.