N. Dakota St. 39, Sam Houston St. 13

Quarterback Brock Jensen ran for three touchdowns, Sam Ojuri

scored twice and North Dakota State beat Sam Houston State 39-13 in

a title-game rematch Saturday for its second straight FCS

championship.

Jensen scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard sneak in the

third quarter, and Ojuri had a 2-yard TD run on fourth-and-1 after

the Bison (14-1) got the ball with a fourth-down stop.

The Bearkats (11-4) had a 40-yard touchdown run by Tim Flanders

brought back by a holding penalty on the first possession of the

second half, and Brian Bell’s second interception on the next play

led to Jensen’s go-ahead score.

The Bison, who won 17-6 a year ago, improved to 10-1 in the FCS

playoffs with their eighth straight postseason win.

Ojuri had 92 yards rushing, and Jensen added 44 to go with 115

passing yards.

John Crockett had 80 yards rushing, 24 receiving and a 26-yard

pass to set up a score on a trick play after taking a

straight-ahead handoff.

Bell threw for 255 yards against the nation’s best pass defense,

but had three of Sam Houston’s four interceptions. Flanders, the

school’s career rushing leader, was held to 53 yards on 19 carries,

a 2.8 average.

It was tied at 10 when Flanders broke loose on an apparent

touchdown on the first possession of the second half. Instead, Sam

Houston had a third long run deep into Bison territory wiped out by

a holding penalty. None of the drives ended in points.

After the holding call on Flanders’ run, Carlton Littlejohn

intercepted Bell’s pass while falling to his knees, and the

turnover was upheld on review. Ojuri had 25 yards rushing on a

drive that ended with Jensen’s score for a 17-10 lead.

The Bearkats were driving again when Bell had to throw the ball

away before getting slammed to the turf on fourth-and-1. He stayed

flat on his back and sat out parts of the fourth quarter.

Jensen’s 31-yard pass to Zach Vraa set up Ojuri’s fourth-down

run, and the Bison further deflated the Bearkats when they turned a

botched snap on the extra point into a 2-point conversion and a

25-10 lead on a desperation pass from kicker Adam Keller to Mike

Hardie.

North Dakota State scored the first touchdown in the second

quarter by covering 65 yards on three running plays. Jensen ran 21

yards on third down after the field opened when Sam Houston State’s

leading tackler, Darnell Taylor, crumpled to the ground in front of

him with an apparently leg injury. Ryan Smith ran 24 yards, and

Jensen, who accounted for both touchdowns in last year’s game,

scored from the 20.

The 72-yard drive came after Marcus Williams set a North Dakota

State record with his 17th career interception. Williams later

added his 18th.

Sam Houston State ended a championship game touchdown drought

just before it reached six quarters and tied the score at 10 when

Bell threw a 1-yard pass to K.J. Williams with 33 seconds left in

the first half. A 30-yard toss to Richard Sincere put the ball on

the 1 three plays after an interception by Andre Martin Jr. was

wiped out when he was called for defensive holding.

Crockett’s career-long 57-yard run set up a 32-yard field goal

by Keller to give North Dakota State a first-quarter lead. Miguel

Antonio kicked a tying 38-yarder in the second quarter after

missing from 32 yards in the first.