North Dakota State shows why it's No. 1
It may have been his only miscue.
The senior signal caller and the Bison defense, as well as the team's yellow and green clad followers, proved to be all they were cracked up to be and crushed New Hampshire, 52-14 , in an FCS tournament semifinal game on Friday night in front of 18,694 in the Fargodome.
The Wildcats win streak of six straight games overall and three in the playoffs came to a screeching halt.
The rare Wildcat highlights came very early.
They scored first when junior defensive back Steven Thames picked off a Jensen pass and went 38 yards untouched for a score on the third play of the game.
That was about it for good news for UNH.
The Wildcat defense went interception, fumble recovery and forced punt on North Dakota's first three offensive turns.
He completed only nine of his 18 first half passes for 132 yards, but had three TD passes, including a 50-yarder to Zach Vraa that tied the game at 7-7 with 5:21 left in the first period.
North Dakota State rolled up 319 yards, 187 of them on the ground.
The Bison were at least as dominant on the defensive side, stuffing sophomore quarterback Sean Goldrich and his crew all night.
"As the game progressed, they bottled us up on the inside," said senior running back and captain Chris Setian. "They had a great scheme against us. What can you say? They were a more physical team than us today. Running room was hard to find."
The defense came up with a score - the crowd helped the home team - and the Bison were pulling away.
The crowd was roaring again on a third and 5 and Goldrich hurried to get a play in and was unable to handle the snap from center. Defensive tackle Levon Perry tracked the ball down and scored on a 6-yard fumble return.
North Dakota State finished with 350 rushing yards and 509 yards total.
UNH was held to 67 yards rushing and had only 184 total yards.
The Wildcats had not advanced past the quarterfinals in any of their previous nine trips to the tournament.