North Dakota State beats South Dakota State

BROOKINGS, S.D. (AP) – North Dakota State, the nation’s top-ranked FCS team, shut out FCS No. 6 South Dakota State 20-0 on Saturday.

The Bison (4-0, 1-0 Missouri Valley) came off a 51-0 victory over Delaware State last week that included a visit from ESPN’s “College GameDay” show.

The two-time defending FCS champions have now won 14 straight on the road.

The Jackrabbits (3-2, 0-1) lost 59-20 last week at Nebraska but were on a nine-game home winning streak, with their last loss to the Bison in 2011.

“Hard-nose, physical game,” said North Dakota State coach Craig Bohl. “I think the biggest difference in the ballgame is we were able to neutralize their running game.”

Jackrabbits running back Zach Zenner had been barreling over defenses and leading the FCS through four games with 742 yards rushing, an average of 185.5. But Saturday he had just 4 yards on eight carries. SDSU finished with minus-32 yards rushing.

“I felt for three quarters it was a hard-fought game, which we expected,” said South Dakota State coach John Stiegelmeier. “But we just couldn’t get anything going offensively, and then we quit tackling and playing defense in the fourth quarter.”

The first score came well into the second quarter with a 1-yard run by Bison quarterback Brock Jensen, who had a 109 yards passing and 61 yards rushing but was sacked three times.

“Right now it feels really good,” Jensen said of the rivalry win. “It was a team effort. It feels good coming down here.”

SDSU quarterback Austin Sumner passed for 156 yards but was sacked seven times.

“Any time you’re playing against NDSU, you’re going against a great defense,” he said. “We weren’t executing it properly.”

South Dakota State’s defense was keeping the Jackrabbits in the game well into the fourth quarter when NDSU running back John Crockett scored on a 14-yard run, though the extra point was blocked. Crockett rushed for 76 yards.

On the next Bisons possession, Jensen ran it again from a yard out for his second TD of the game.

“I don’t think our guys gave up,” Stiegelmeier said. “But it takes a tough son-of-a-gun to play that physical of a game through 60 minutes.”

Sam Ojuri led North Dakota State in rushing with 113 yards on 19 carries. The team had 262 total yards rushing.

The Bison had just 109 passing yards, staying on the ground for 55 carries.

“There’s room for significant improvement. We had uncharacteristic errors on all phases of the game. We need to pick up our discipline,” Bohl said. “We can certainly play better than we did.”

The team left any euphoria from last weekend’s ESPN presence in Fargo, so that wasn’t an issue, Bohl said.

NDSU linebacker Grant Olson recorded two sacks for 14 yards. Stopping Zenner for no gain on the first play of the game set the tone, he said.

“We knew that if we were going to win, we needed to be the more physical team,” Olson said.

A Coughlin-Alumni Stadium record crowd of 16,498 watched.

The rivalry is known as the Dakota Marker game. North Dakota State leads the series 6-4. The Dakota Marker is a traveling trophy started in 2004 that mimics the quartzite monuments that used to mark the border between the two states.