Scores
NCAA DIVISION I FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP - SEMIFINAL

Final

Ga. Southern 20

(10-4, 4-3 away)

North Dakota St 23

(13-1, 8-1 home)

Coverage: ESPN2

8:00 PM ET, December 14, 2012

Fargodome, Fargo, ND

1 2 3 4 T
GASO 6 7 7 020
NDSU 6 3 7 723

Top Performers

Passing: J. McKinnon (SOU) - 91 YDS, 1 TD

Rushing: J. McKinnon (SOU) - 31 CAR, 168 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: D. Swope (GASO) - 1 REC, 49 YDS, 1 TD

Defending champion North Dakota State back in FCS title game

Associated Press

FARGO, N.D. -- Brock Jensen scored on a 5-yard quarterback draw on fourth down with three minutes left to rally North Dakota State to a 23-20 victory over Georgia Southern on Friday night in the Football Championship Subdivision 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.

"I am (a) little bit out of words," North Dakota State coach Craig Bohl said. "That's probably one of the most draining games I've ever been a part of."

Georgia Southern coach Jeff Monken, whose team lost to NDSU in last year's semifinals, had to be consoled by four Eagles players after they finished interviews in the postgame news conference. Monken sobbed and then left the room for a few minutes before taking questions.

"I apologize for losing my composure there," Monken said. "It hurts, it hurts bad."

Jensen's run came on a fourth-and-3 play and followed three timeouts, the first 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.

"There was a lot of debating going on. It was a chess match," Bohl said.

"Those are the type of situations you live for as a competitor of the game," Jensen said. "We called it, there was a hole there for me and I just tried to hit it as hard as I could."

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.

"I talk to our guys about a lot of things. All of them have to do the fundamentals, and that's a fundamental thing," Monken said of the penalties.

The Bison survived a furious rally when Carlton Littlejohn blocked a 50-yard field goal attempt with 34 seconds left by Drew Ruggles, who recently was 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.

"Without question, in my mind, I knew it was going to be a pivotal play," Bohl said of the penalty. "Once you get through the frustration, you say, hey, here's a young man trying to make a play."

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.

"You can't turn the ball over against a good team. It cost us," Monken said.

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.

"Coming into the game, we knew it would be a physical game," McKinnon said. "North Dakota State did a great job of capitalizing ... making the big plays when they needed to."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
GASO
NDSU
1st Downs2017
Total Yards430276
Passing15976
Rushing271200
Penalties13-1035-40
3rd Down Conversions7-144-10
4th Down Conversions2-21-1
Turnovers10
Possession33:0526:35

Passing Leaders

Georgia SouthernC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
McKinnon2/59118.210
North Dakota StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Jensen9/19764.000

Rushing Leaders

Georgia SouthernCARYDSAVGTDLG
McKinnon311685.4125
Swope14775.5029
North Dakota StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Ojuri67111.8153
Crockett13604.6111

Receiving Leaders

Georgia SouthernRECYDSAVGTDLG
Swope14949.0149
Bryant14242.0042
North Dakota StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Smith4297.3011
Vraa2199.5010

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERGASONDSU
TD06:23JJ Wilcox 4 Yd Run (Pat Blocked) 60
TD00:46John Crockett 1 Yd Run (Pat Blocked) 66
SECOND QUARTERGASONDSU
TD12:17Dominique Swope 49 Yd Pass From Jerick McKinnon (Alex Hanks Kick) 136
FG00:25Adam Keller 36 Yd 139
THIRD QUARTERGASONDSU
TD10:42Sam Ojuri 53 Yd Run (Adam Keller Kick) 1316
TD05:02Jerick McKinnon 25 Yd Run (Alex Hanks Kick) 2016
FOURTH QUARTERGASONDSU
TD03:05Brock Jensen 5 Yd Run (Adam Keller Kick) 2023