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Saturday, January 7, 2012
North Dakota State Strikes first in 1st quarter

By Travis L. Brown

FRISCO, Texas -- North Dakota State managed three points in the opening quarter of the FCS Championship that featured huge defensive plays.

Bison kicker Ryan Jastram drilled an 18-yard field goal with three seconds left in the quarter for a 3-0 lead after the North Dakota State offense hit a Sam Houston State brick wall on the one-yard line.

Sam Houston State's defense made three huge stops inside the 10-yard line to hold the Bison to three.

The opening minutes of the game were controlled by the punters, highlighted by a 66-yard punt, with little aid of a roll, by Bison punter Matt Voigtlander.

Sam Houston State's defense won the key turnover battle in the first quarter, forcing a Bison fumble with just over seven minutes left in the quarter that was recovered by Bearkat defensive back Duke Bohall.

The Bearkats could not take advantage of the gift, turning the ball over on downs when the Bison defense stuffed Sam Houston State quarterback Brian Bell on the one-yard, fourth down sneak attempt.

North Dakota State tallied 108 total yards in the first to the Bearkat's 52 total yards. Bison quarterback Brock Jensen is 5-for-7 for 77 yards. Sam Houston State quarterback Brian Bell is 1-for-3 for 36 yards. The Bison racked up six first downs to Sam Houston State's one.

While the game is just a bus ride from the home of the Bearkats, Huntsville, North Dakota State fans outnumber the orange-clad fans 60-40 to the naked eye. The Bison faithful have also given their squad the advantage in noise throughout the first quarter.