Instant analysis: North Dakota St. 17, SHSU 6

January, 7, 2012
1/07/12
3:21
PM CT


FRISCO, Texas -- North Dakota State put its first FCS Division I championship in the bag on quarterback Brock Jensen's 1-yard touchdown run three seconds into the fourth quarter Saturday in a 17-6 win over previously undefeated Sam Houston State.

The win came in North Dakota State's first FCS title appearance. The Bison also have five NCAA Division II national titles in their trophy case.

North Dakota State linebacker Travis Beck picked off Brian Bell just a play before the score, returning the interception 63-yards to the Bearkats' 1.

A few notes on how North Dakota Stage handed Sam Houston State its first loss of the season:

How the game was won: North Dakota State punter and running back Matt Voigtlander was huge in helping win the field possession battle for the Bison. He dropped four punts inside the 20-yard line, including a third-quarter kick that was downed on the Sam Houston State 1 by Bobby Ollman. Voigtlander began the game wowing Pizza Hut park with a 66-yard boot with maximum hangtime. He finished the day punting 10 times for 442 yards, with four sailing over 50 yards.

Turning point: North Dakota State coach Craig Bohl emphasized the importance of the first drive of the second half, and that is exactly what sparked the Bison. The five-play, 72-yard drive featured a 27-yard rush by Voigtlander which set up the touchdown toss on the next play.

Stat of the game: Sam Houston State was just 4-for-18 on third-down conversions, but North Dakota State wasn't much better at 1-for-13. However, the Bison picked up fresh downs nine times before they reached the third try. North Dakota State was 1-for-1 on fourth-down conversions. The Bison defense made three fourth-down stops on Sam Houston State on the Bearkats' four attempts.

What it means: North Dakota State proves it belongs as a power in Division I football after years of dominance in Division II. The loss prevents Sam Houston State -- the top seed in the tournament and No. 1 polls -- from completing a 15-0 season.
Travis L. Brown covers high schools for ESPNDallas.com. He is a graduate of TCU, where he was sports editor of the student paper, The Daily Skiff.

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