Saturday, December 15, 2012 | Valley Football
Bison Reach Title Game With 23-20 Win in Semis
North Dakota State celebrates after its national championship win last January.
North Dakota State celebrates after its national championship win last January.

For the second-straight year, North Dakota State will represent the Missouri Valley Football Conference in the FCS Championship game.   It marks the sixth appearance all-time for an MVFC member.

The league has national championships in 1997 (Youngstown State), 2002 (Western Kentucky), and 2011 (North Dakota State).   Youngstown State (1999) and Northern Iowa (2005) also reached the title game, but lost.   North Dakota State, meanwhile, becomes the first league school to play in a national championship game in back-to-back seasons.

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Brock Jensen scored on a 5-yard quarterback draw on fourth down with 3 minutes left to rally North Dakota State to a 23-20 victory over Georgia Southern Friday night in the FCS semifinals.  The defending champion Bison (13-1) advanced to the championship game Jan. 5 in Frisco, Texas, against the winner of Saturday's semifinal between Sam Houston State and Eastern Washington.

Jensen's run came on a fourth-and-3 play and it followed three timeouts, the first one by NDSU and the last two by Georgia Southern. Jensen said the play was called during the first timeout. Bohl said offensive coordinator Brent Vigen decided to stick with the play after much chatter among coaches on the field and coaches in the press box.   Jensen's run capped a 59-yard drive that was aided by a roughing-the-passer penalty on the Eagles. The drive started at the Bison 41 after a 15-yard penalty on Georgia Southern for a late hit.

The Bison survived a furious rally when Carlton Littlejohn blocked a 50-yard field-goal attempt with 34 seconds left by Drew Ruggles, who was recently recruited off the Georgia Southern soccer team.   Quarterback Jerick McKinnon rushed for 168 yards and a touchdown for Georgia Southern (10-4). He scored on a 25-yard run late in the third quarter to give the Eagles a 20-16 lead after the Bison's Jordan Champion roughed the punter in the Eagles end zone.

McKinnon's touchdown followed a 53-yard touchdown run by NDSU's Sam Ojuri, who scored two plays after Christian Dudzik forced McKinnon to fumble and Grant Olson recovered at the Bison 41.

Ojuri rushed for 71 yards for North Dakota State. Jensen added 58 yards and John Crockett 55 yards rushing for the Bison.    Georgia Southern outgained NDSU 430-277 in total yardage. Dominique Swope added 78 yards rushing for the Eagles.