Followers of North Dakota State football were treated to a replay of one of Brock Jensen’s many highlights on Friday.
This time, the stakes — while not necessarily higher — were nearly as important as the time before.
When the Bison quarterback twisted his way into the end zone for the game-winning score in a 24-21 win over FBS Kansas State, it was remarkably similar to a play from the previous season, one that landed NDSU in the national championship game.
Jensen’s 5-yard keeper that capped a 59-yard drive in the FCS semifinals lifted the Bison to a 23-20 win over Georgia Southern and set the stage for their second straight national championship.
NDSU coach Craig Bohl said Friday’s 80-yard drive at defending Big 12 champion Kansas State was even better.
“That was the best,” Bohl said. “You got one drive left, you’re in Manhattan, you gotta go 80 yards, stay on the field, convert, go 7-for-7 and run the clock.
“We’ve had great drives — the Georgia Southern one. So many things were reminiscent. Even the last play where he was running the football.”
Jensen drove the Bison 80 yards for the winning touchdown with 28 seconds left, chewing up eight minutes of the clock and squirming through an opening and past a defender to the end zone from the 1-yard line.
He appeared to be in trouble just after the snap, but a hole appeared to his left and Jensen dived through.
Jensen, who has two national tiles to his credit and is leading the No. 1-ranked team in the FCS again, ran for 16 yards and went 7-for-7 for 56 yards on the drive.
Bohl said everyone wants to know who his quarterback is.
“I was on a ton of national shows and every one of them talked about Brock Jensen. Every one of them,” Bohl said. “I know his name is being thrown around, all around the country.”
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound senior from Waupaca, Wis., is becoming a household name in North Dakota.
Last season, Jensen steamrolled a Georgia Southern defender to get into the end zone with the game-winning TD.
With one more title, Jensen would join Jeff Bentrim as the only NDSU quarterbacks to win three national championships. Bentrim accomplished the feat in 1983, 1985 and 1986 in NCAA Division II.
The win over the Wildcats was NDSU’s fourth straight over an FBS team. Bohl said he has never in his 11 years received as much national media attention.
“I think it’s great for our school. That was a signature win for our program. ... They played hard, they played well,” Bohl said.
NDSU plays NCAA II Ferris State in Saturday’s home opener. Bohl said he isn’t worried about a letdown coming off a big win.