Sooner or later, teams are going to stop scheduling North Dakota State, or the Bison are finally going to move up to the FBS level. Thanks to a 210 to 55 rushing-yard advantage, NDSU toppled Kansas State, a team that went 11-2 and clinched a share of the Big 12 title a year ago, by a final of 24-21.
The Wildcats have a big hole at quarterback (and in their running game) following the graduation of Collin Klein, but Jake Waters did his best to fill in, completing 21-of-28 passes for 280 yards, two scores and an interception. But outside of a five-minute stretch in the third quarter, Kansas State seemed listless and uninspired. The Bison played like they knew they could beat the Wildcats from the opening kick.
"This is the biggest win in our program's history," NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen said during the Fox postgame interview. "I'm absolutely honored to be a part of it."
Jensen completed seven straight passes on the final drive (part of 14 straight completions in all) to get the Bison down to the one-yard line with under a minute to play. The Bison finally broke through, as Jensen went in for the score and completed the unlikely upset.
The final drive was 18 plays and spanned eight and a half minutes as North Dakota State marched right down the field, practically daring the Wildcats to stop them.
SI.com's Stewart Mandel wrote this about the matchup in his Week 1 Pickoff:
Behold, my first-ever FCS over FBS pick. The Bison -- FCS' two-time defending national champs -- have knocked off Kansas, Minnesota and Colorado State in the past three years. Of course, none was a reigning BCS bowl team, but K-State is certainly vulnerable (and equally capable of turning right around and winning 10 games). Bill Snyder's squad is breaking in a new quarterback and 10 new defensive starters.
Snyder has worked a lot of magic in his time at K-State, so it's very possible this team turns around and wins those 10 games somehow. But this isn't a very good sign, and the 10 new defensive starters looked completely beat on that last possession. Regardless, the Bison will remember this game for a long, long time.
If early reactions are any indication, college football fans won't forget about this game any time soon, either:
NDSU is now 7-3 against FBS opponents since moving up from Division II ten seasons ago.
— Mark Hasty (@MarkHasty) August 31, 2013
It's hard to call it an upset when you get mashed out on an eight minute drive to end the game.
— edsbs (@edsbs) August 31, 2013
That's the game folks. FCS national champ just upset reigning Big 12 champ.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) August 31, 2013
I asked the North Dakota State basketball coach last year if they flew commercial to Akron. He goes, "What, do you think we took a wagon?"
— Zac Jackson (@FSOhioZJackson) August 31, 2013
Only a quarterback named "Brock Jensen" could out-Klein Kansas State.
— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) August 31, 2013
I don't know the capitol of North Dakota.
— Mark Ennis (@Mengus22) August 31, 2013
...and that's why you don't schedule North Dakota State as your Week 1 opponent. [/Ron Howard voice]
— Doug (@CaptainAnnoying) August 31, 2013
Bison and #ONIONS make a great meal.
— Matt Zemek (@MattZemek_CFN) August 31, 2013