FARGO (AP) - Sam Ojuri ran for 96 yards and the go-ahead touchdown as North Dakota State rallied back from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to prevail 24-23 over Northern Iowa on Saturday.
With three minutes to play, Ojuri took the handoff, shuffled right and burst through a gap up the middle, breaking two tackles on his way to the 19-yard game-winning touchdown.
"At one point our offense was driving, we were down 13, and I looked at Cole (Jirik) and Mike (Hardie) and said well, here we go, Kansas State all over again," NDSU defensive end Kyle Emanuel said in the postgame press conference. "Being in that situation before really helped us. We don't let it get to us. We just keep playing no matter what the score is."
North Dakota State's Kyle Emanuel (53), Mike Hardie and Cole Jirik hit University of Northern Iowa quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen on Saturday at the Fargodome. Photo courtesy of David Samson / The Forum.
The Bison (5-0, 2-0 Missouri Valley) cut the lead to 23-17 earlier in the fourth quarter. Going for it on fourth-and-6 from the Panthers 11, senior Brock Jensen threw a line drive to Zach Vraa crossing the middle of the end zone.
"It was an audible on the line of scrimmage, so we lined up not knowing what we were going to run," Vraa said. "Brock gave me the signal for a play. I saw the right coverage by the cornerback, ran the route and executed."
David Johnson had 142 yards on 12 carries for the Panthers (4-1, 0-1) but injured his hip in the third quarter on Northern Iowa's last scoring drive. Though able to return, he was still in pain and stayed on the sideline for most of the remaining plays.
NDSU coach Craig Bohl described Johnson as a "tremendous" back. Bohl also praised Jensen for leading yet another late comeback for the Bison.
"I think he's a champion," Bohl said. "He's got a tremendous amount of confidence as far as being able to make plays late in the game. That was probably formed in high school and he's been able to do that throughout his career here. Late in the fourth quarter, you know Brock is going to find a way to move the chains and get the ball in the end zone."
- Daily News Staff
contributed to this report.