In the FCS Huddle: NDSU's Jensen measured by the wins

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - North Dakota State's Brock Jensen wouldn't be a Walter Payton Award candidate if he wasn't a special quarterback.

He wouldn't be the Bison's career record holder in pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards and total offense if he wasn't accomplished.

Still, Jensen can be taken for granted by any list of top FCS quarterbacks because he's not the type who will throw for 400 yards or five touchdowns in a game. The Bison's style of offense doesn't demand it.

The tell-tale sign for Brock Jensen's value is the number of wins he has directed over the past four seasons.

He's been North Dakota State's starting quarterback on back-to-back FCS national title-winning teams, and has the unbeaten and top-ranked Bison on an 18-game winning streak and possibly headed toward a national championship three-peat.

All that winning adds up. Jensen is on the verge of becoming the winningest quarterback in FCS history. He is 42-5 overall as the NDSU quarterback (41-5 as a starter) and sits only one win behind the FCS-record of 43 that Armanti Edwards collected as Appalachian State's signal caller from 2006-09. J.R. Revere also won 42 at Georgia Southern from 1998-01.

"It's very humbling," Jensen said. "I wouldn't be in a position like this without the great coaching that I've had throughout my career, the great teammates that I've played with. I've had a chance to play with unbelievable players. And it means a great a deal. This is why you play the quarterback position, to break a record like this.

"If there is one record that any quarterback wants to break, it's not passing yards, it's not the amount of touchdowns, it's not total yards. You could throw all that stuff out the window. At the end of the day, this is why you play the quarterback position - to win games."

Jensen, a 23-year-old redshirt senior, has helped North Dakota State to a 9-0 record this season. He will seek his 43rd career win on Saturday when the Bison visit No. 15 Youngstown State, the only Missouri Valley team that can still catch the Bison for the conference's automatic bid to the FCS playoffs.

The Bison will then finish the regular season by hosting South Dakota and they expect to have another long run in the playoffs. In his first season in 2010, Jensen went 4-3 as the Bison quarterback, helping them reach the national quarterfinals. In each of the past two seasons behind his lead, the Bison had a 14-1 record and beat Sam Houston State in the national championship game.

"I've played in a lot of football games," Jensen said, "and experience is something that I use to my advantage. When you play the game this long, you see a lot of different looks, you've been in a ton of different situations, you're just able to learn so much. The comfort level now is to the extreme. As a fifth-year senior, this game has slowed down immensely. That feels good."

"I think," said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl, "the biggest thing is his ability to make plays when they're not drawn up perfectly. He's improvised many times and turned the chains over whether it's a third-down-and-long call and he pulls the ball and takes off and runs (or) hangs in there in the pocket. He's played with injuries and he's delivered time and time again when the odds are stacked against us."

The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder from Waupaca, Wis., is an intense competitor. He manages NDSU's West Coast offense to perfection, often performing at his best in the pressure-filled moments, like the playoffs or the second-half rally at Kansas State to open this season.

He is the Bison's career leader in pass attempts (995), pass completions (617), passing yards (7,451) and total offensive yards (8,452). His 58 career touchdown passes rank second in school history.

But those numbers aren't so important to Jensen.

Not when there's more games to win.

"For me," he said, "it's about preparing and putting in all the work and time during the week to give it all you can for that game, and go out there on Saturday, or whatever day it is, and compete your butt off.

"Guys come and go (and) each year a new identity is born. It's just a matter of accepting the challenges of the year and working together to accomplish that one goal, and that is to win games."

AROUND THE NATION

In William & Mary's impressive run of wins over James Madison, New Hampshire and Delaware, the No. 16 Tribe (7-3) have allowed only one offensive touchdown (none in the last 10 quarters) and a combined 139 rushing yards. Up next at home is Towson and junior running back Terrance West, the FCS scoring leader (26 touchdowns) and rushing leader (1,618 yards). ... Perhaps no team sitting outside the FCS playoff picture could kick the door down quite like Southern Utah (7-3), which hasn't played the toughest of schedules but finishes at No. 8 Montana State and against No. 12 Northern Arizona. A sweep should be enough to get the Thunderbirds in the postseason. ... Sophomore wide receiver Ellis Henderson surely wants to make certain Montana (8-2) returns to the playoffs this season. He has scored the game-winning touchdown in the Grizzlies' last three wins, most recently on a kickoff return in the final two minutes against South Dakota. He ranks eighth nationally in all-purpose yards per game (155.4). ... Perhaps playoff hopeful Jacksonville State (8-2) has the perfect offense - the Ohio Valley Conference's top-rated rushing unit - to keep quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and the Eastern Illinois offense off the field enough to pull an upset Saturday. Still, the OVC's two top offenses know more about the quick strike than ball control because they rank seventh (JSU) and eighth (EIU) in the nine-team OVC in time of possession. ... Charleston Southern (10-1) has two more regular-season games - at Gardner- Webb and home versus Liberty - to try to become the first team in Big South history to reach 11 wins in a season. Included in the Buccaneers' big season is a conference-record six road wins. ... San Diego (7-3, 6-1) can clinch the Pioneer Football League's first-ever automatic bid with a win over Drake on Saturday. However, if the Toreros lose the game and fall out of first place, the league athletic directors are still deciding whether they plan to use the NCAA selection committee's new Simple Rating System to break any first-place ties. Mercer (8-1, 5-1) and Marist play head-to-head on Saturday, but neither will play the other one-loss team, Butler (8-3, 6-1), this season. Plus, Drake (6-4, 5-2) is mathematically alive for a five-team tie. ... Princeton quarterback Quinn Epperly is the first player in Ivy League history to win its offensive player of the week award in four straight weeks. The Tigers (7-1) host Yale on Saturday with a chance to clinch at least a share of their first league title since 2006. ... With two games remaining, surging Hampton is on pace to have four players reach 100 tackles (Delbert Tyler with 114; Carvin Johnson, 96; Joshua Thorne, 90; and Justin Blake, 85). The Pirates (4-6) get a crack at No. 18 Bethune-Cookman in MEAC action Saturday. ... Chattanooga (8-2, 6-1) can clinch the Southern Conference's automatic bid by winning at Samford on Saturday, but Samford (6-4, 4-2) and Furman (5-5, 4-2) remain alive in tiebreaker scenarios. Wofford (5-4, 4-2) can still earn a share of the SoCon title, but can only get to the playoffs with an at-large bid. ... Sacred Heart's J.D. Roussel and Tennessee State's Daniel Fitzpatrick are tied for the FCS high with six interceptions. ... In the messy, though fun Northeast Conference race, Sacred Heart and Robert Morris go head-to-head on Saturday. Sacred Heart needs a win and a Saint Francis loss to Wagner to clinch the automatic bid, while Robert Morris needs a win in coach Joe Walton's final home game and losses by both Saint Francis and Duquesne (against Central Connecticut State) to clinch the bid. ... No. 4 Sam Houston State (8-2, 4-1) already has lost its only two road games (Texas A&M and McNeese State) as it heads to No. 14 Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday. The host Lions (8-2, 5-0) can clinch the Southland Conference's automatic bid to the playoffs with a victory. .... After hosting Alcorn State on Saturday, Jackson State will have a three-week break before playing in the SWAC Championship Game on Dec. 7 in Houston. Southern, the other team in the title game, will play Grambling State in the Bayou Classic on Nov. 30 and will have only a one-week buildup. ... In response to Grambling State's Oct. 19 forfeit at Jackson State, the SWAC announced money will be taken from Grambling State's future distribution amount and given to Jackson State and that the Tigers will be required to play at Jackson State in each of the next three seasons to compensate for lost revenue. ... Missouri State (5-6, 5-2), the surprise third- place team in the Missouri Valley Conference, has to beat Northern Iowa for the first time since 2005 to finish with a .500 overall record. ... No. 20 Lehigh (7-2) can still win the Patriot League's automatic playoff bid, but it's possible either Colgate (4-6) or Lafayette (3-6) could be the representative with a losing record overall. Lafayette is assured of a losing record in the regular season, but Colgate can get to .500 with a sweep of Lehigh and No. 5 Fordham. ... Fordham's star quarterback Michael Nebrich has been ruled out of Saturday's game at Lafayette with a knee injury and it's uncertain whether he will make it back to the field this season. Fordham (10-0) and No. 1 North Dakota State (9-0) are the only unbeaten teams in the FCS.

WHAT WE KNOW, WHAT WE THINK WE KNOW

The Sports Network FCS Top 25 can be found at http://tinyurl.com/88q2k7t.

Also, once again this season, In the FCS Huddle is projecting the potential FCS playoff field. The projections, updated most Sundays, are a long-range look at the season - not based off current records or rankings - and can be found at http://www.sportsnetwork.com/fcs/FCS_Bracket.pdf.

WEEK 12 PICKS

Week 11 Record: 40-22 (.645)

Season Record: 533-183 (.744)

Thursday, Nov. 14

Morgan State (4-6, 4-2 MEAC) at X-South Carolina State (7-3, 5-1), 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 16

Penn (4-4, 3-2 Ivy) at X-Harvard (7-1, 4-1), noon

X-Monmouth (5-5) at Bryant (4-6), noon

Richmond (4-6, 2-4 CAA) at X-No. 21 Delaware (7-3, 4-2), noon

Wagner (2-8, 1-4 NEC) at X-Saint Francis (Pa.) (4-5, 2-2), noon

Sacred Heart (9-2, 3-2 NEC) at X-Robert Morris (5-4, 3-1), noon

Central Connecticut State (4-6, 2-2 NEC) at X-Duquesne (5-4, 3-2), 12:10 p.m.

Dartmouth (4-4, 3-2 Ivy) at X-Brown (5-3, 2-3), 12:30 p.m.

Rhode Island (3-8, 2-5 CAA) at X-No. 6 Maine (9-1, 6-0), 12:30 p.m.

Yale (5-3, 3-2 Ivy) at X-No. 25 Princeton (7-1, 5-0), 1 p.m.

Columbia (0-8, 0-5 Ivy) at X-Cornell (1-7, 0-5), 1 p.m.

Savannah State (1-10, 0-7 MEAC) at X-North Carolina A&T (5-4, 2-4), 1 p.m.

X-No. 20 Lehigh (7-2, 2-1 Patriot) at Colgate (4-6, 3-1), 1 p.m.

VMI (2-8) at X-The Citadel (4-6), 1 p.m.

Presbyterian (3-6, 1-2 Big South) at X-No. 11 Coastal Carolina (9-1, 3-1 Big South), 1 p.m.

Mercer (9-1, 5-1 Pioneer) at X-Marist (7-3, 6-1), 1 p.m.

Stetson (2-7, 1-5 Pioneer) at X-Jacksonville (4-6, 3-4), 1 p.m.

UT Martin (6-4, 4-2 OVC) at X-Eastern Kentucky (6-4, 4-2), 1 p.m.

Campbell (2-8) at X-Old Dominion (7-3), 1 p.m.

X-Butler (8-3, 6-1 Pioneer) at Morehead State (3-7, 3-4), 1 p.m.

Georgetown (1-8, 0-3 Patriot) at X-Bucknell (4-5, 2-2), 1 p.m.

No. 22 Jacksonville State (8-2, 4-2 OVC) at X-No. 2 Eastern Illinois (9-1, 6-0), 1 p.m.

X-Appalachian State (2-8, 2-4 Southern) at No. 24 Wofford (5-4, 4-2), 1:30 p.m.

X-No. 13 Charleston Southern (10-1, 3-0 Big South) at Gardner-Webb (5-5, 0-3), 1:30 p.m.

X-No. 10 Towson (8-2, 4-2 CAA) at No. 16 William & Mary (7-3, 4-2), 1:30 p.m.

X-Delaware State (4-5, 4-2 MEAC) at Florida A&M (3-7, 2-4), 2 p.m.

X-No. 19 South Dakota State (6-4, 3-3 Missouri Valley) at South Dakota (4-6, 3-3), 2 p.m.

Northern Iowa (5-5, 1-5 Missouri Valley) at X-Missouri State (5-6, 5-2), 2 p.m.

X-Southeast Missouri State (2-8, 1-5 OVC) at Austin Peay (0-10, 0-6), 2 p.m.

Co-Game of the Week: X-No. 1 North Dakota State (9-0, 6-0 Missouri Valley) at No. 15 Youngstown State (8-2, 5-1), 2 p.m. Imagine the magnitude of this game if the host Penguins hadn't lost at the buzzer to Northern Iowa last Saturday. Still, it's a dangerous game for the Bison, who would secure the Missouri Valley's automatic playoff bid with a win but lose control of it with a loss.

X-Alabama State (6-4, 6-2 SWAC) at Mississippi Valley State (2-8, 2-6), 2 p.m.

X-Norfolk State (3-7, 3-3 MEAC) at North Carolina Central (4-6, 2-4), 2 p.m.

X-Arkansas-Pine Bluff (2-7, 2-5 SWAC) at Alabama A&M (3-7, 3-5), 2 p.m.

Abilene Christian (5-5) at X-Prairie View A&M (5-5), 2 p.m.

X-Dayton (6-4, 4-3 Pioneer) at Valparaiso (1-9, 1-6), 2 p.m.

Weber State (1-9, 0-6 Big Sky) at X-No. 7 Montana (8-2, 4-2), 2 p.m.

X-Western Illinois (3-7, 1-5 Missouri Valley) at Indiana State (1-9, 0-6), 2 p.m.

No. 17 Chattanooga (8-2, 6-1 Southern) at X-Samford (6-4, 4-2), 3 p.m.

X-Howard (4-6) at Texas Southern (2-8), 3 p.m.

Angelo State (3-6) at X-Incarnate Word (6-4), 3 p.m.

X-Georgia Southern (5-4, 3-4 Southern) at Elon (2-8, 1-5), 3 p.m.

Murray State (5-5, 3-3 OVC) at X-Tennessee State (8-3, 5-2), 3 p.m.

Illinois State (5-5, 4-3 Missouri Valley) at X-Southern Illinois (5-5, 3-3), 3 p.m.

X-Alcorn State (8-3, 6-2 SWAC) at Jackson State (8-2, 8-0), 3 p.m.

Idaho State (3-7) at X-BYU (6-3), 3 p.m.

X-No. 23 New Hampshire (5-4, 4-2 CAA) at Albany (1-9, 0-6), 3:30 p.m.

Stony Brook (3-6, 1-5 CAA) at X-James Madison (6-4, 3-3), 3:30 p.m.

Brevard (2-7) at X-Liberty (6-4), 3:30 p.m.

X-No. 5 Fordham (10-0) at Lafayette (3-6), 3:30 p.m.

X-Furman (5-5, 4-2 Southern) at Western Carolina (2-8, 1-5), 3:30 p.m.

X-No. 3 Eastern Washington (8-2, 6-0 Big Sky) at Cal Poly (5-5, 4-2), 3:40 p.m.

X-Central Arkansas (5-5, 2-3 Southland) at Nicholls (4-6, 1-4), 4 p.m.

Hampton (4-6, 4-2 MEAC) at X-No. 18 Bethune-Cookman (8-2, 5-1), 4 p.m.

Drake (6-4, 5-2 Pioneer) at X-San Diego (7-3, 6-1), 4 p.m.

Co-Game of the Week: X-No. 4 Sam Houston State (8-2, 4-1 Southland) at No. 14 Southeastern Louisiana (8-2, 5-0), 4 p.m. SELU will clinch the Southland's automatic playoff bid with a victory. A rested Timothy Flanders might have other ideas for the Bearkats.

Sacramento State (4-6, 3-3 Big Sky) at X-Portland State (6-4, 3-3), 4:05 p.m.

Northern Colorado (1-9, 0-6 Big Sky) at X-No. 12 Northern Arizona (7-2, 5-1), 6 p.m.

Southern Utah (7-3, 4-2 Big Sky) at X-No. 8 Montana State (7-3, 5-1), 6:05 p.m.

Clark Atlanta (2-6) at X-Southern (6-4), 7 p.m.

Stephen F. Austin (3-7, 1-4 Southland) at X-Lamar (4-6, 1-4), 7 p.m.

X-North Dakota (3-7, 2-5 Big Sky) at UC Davis (3-7, 3-3), 7 p.m.

Northwestern State (5-5, 2-3 Southland) at X-No. 9 McNeese State (8-2, 4-1), 8 p.m.

Original Document: 
xt.19520230-HALEY-COLUMN
Display Section: 

More Stories:

Home Page Infinite Scroll Left