NDSU QB to wrap up banner career in FCS title game
FARGO, N.D. (AP)
North Dakota State's Brock Jensen isn't often mentioned among the top quarterbacks in college football, or even his own division.
His coach cites one quality that he believes will earn him a shot at the pros: Jensen wins.
Jensen has won more games than any other quarterback in the history of the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-AA. He needs one more victory in this weekend's FCS title game against Towson to give the Bison their third straight national title.
Yet Bison Nation was rankled earlier this month when Jensen was not among the finalists for the Walter Payton Award, which goes annually to the top offensive player in FCS. The award went to Jimmy Garoppolo of Eastern Illinois. The other finalists were quarterback Vernon Adams of Eastern Washington and running back Terrance West of Towson.
''The FCS all-time winning quarterback must not stack up against total yards,'' NDSU coach Craig Bohl said. ''We're disappointed for Brock, but Brock has booked that and moved on. I wouldn't trade him. All those other guys? He's our guy.''
Jensen shows his interest in the debate with a shrug of the shoulders. Awards are for other people to decide, he says. He would rather talk about the team's quest for three straight FCS titles, which will be determined Saturday in Frisco, Texas.
''It's the last game of the year. It's the championship. That's mainly where my focus is,'' he said.
Jensen has won 47 games with the Bison, 46 as a starter and one when he came off the bench as a freshman to beat Morgan State. Earlier this season, he surpassed Armanti Edwards, who won 43 times while leading Appalachian State to three straight FCS titles from 2005 to 2007.
While Jensen might not have the flair or the numbers of Garoppolo and Adams, he has blown open the record books at a school with a proud football history. He is NDSU's career leader in pass attempts (1,106), pass completions (690), passing touchdowns (69), passing yards (8,463) and total offense (9,683).
''I've had the privilege of watching some of the best players in the history of the FCS,'' said Mike Kern, associate commissioner of the Missouri Valley Football Conference. ''What Brock has done for NDSU, the Missouri Valley Football Conference and the FCS puts him in that elite group. ''
Jensen epitomizes a methodical Bison offense that finds different ways to score, said Towson quarterback Connor Frazier.
''They seem to not make many mistakes,'' Frazier said. ''They don't turn the ball over.''
This season, by the numbers, has been Jensen's best. He has completed 205 of 311 passes for 2,658 yards and 33 touchdowns, with seven interceptions. He has also rushed for 459 yards and nine TDs.
Jensen cites his experience and the freedom shown to him by offensive coordinator Brent Vigen as keys to the statistical surge.
''He's allowed me to really this year do things I haven't done in the past,'' Jensen said of Vigen. ''And we have been so balanced in our attack. We have experience at all our skill positions and our offensive line is the best in the country.''
Jensen came to NDSU from Waupeca, Wis., where as senior he led his high school team to a 14-0 record and the 2008 Wisconsin Division III state championship. His career record as a starter in high school was 26-2. His career record as a starter with the Bison is 46-5.
''This has been my life for five years now. I'm definitely going to miss it,'' Jensen said. ''But I'm looking forward, at the same time, to the next chapter of my life after this game.''
Bohl, who is leaving the Bison program for Wyoming, said that should include an invitation to an NFL camp.
''He's thrown the ball very well. He's improved,'' Bohl said. ''It would be great to get him in a camp and see what he can do. I know a lot of guys have watched a lot of tape on him.''