Story and photo courtesy of North Dakota State Athletics
FARGO, N.D. - Brock Jensen threw three touchdown passes, and North Dakota State kicked off the defense of its Football Championship Subdivision title Saturday with a 52-0 domination of Robert Morris in the season opener for both teams at Gate City Bank Field in the Fargodome.
Jensen was 16 of 23 for 217 yards, hitting Ryan Smith, Taylor Nelson and Trevor Gebhart for scores. Sam Ojuri, John Crockett, Derrick Lang and backup quarterback Carson Wentz added rushing touchdowns and Adam Keller kicked a 24-yard field goal for the Bison, playing their first game since beating Sam Houston State 17-6 in the FCS championship game Jan. 7.
The NDSU defense held Robert Morris to 88 yards of total offense. The Bison tallied three fumbles and an interception of the Colonials' Matt Layman, who was 10 of 21 for 66 yards. NDSU allowed just 22 rushing yards on 29 RMU attempts.
NDSU recorded its first shutout since 2006 when it blanked Mississippi Valley State 45-0. The shutout was the first for the Bison in their home opener since topping Valparaiso 52-0 in 2004.
Junior receiver Ryan Smith racked up 131 all-purpose yards -- 68 receiving and 63 punt return yards -- to claim MVP in honors in the 23rd Trees Bowl.
Junior linebacker Grant Olson led the Bison defense with eight total tackles, 1.0 TFL and a forced fumble.
Gate City Bank Field was sold out for the 11th time in the past seven seasons, as NDSU's dominant performance took place in front of a crowd of 18,769.
North Dakota State won its only previous meeting with Robert Morris, 43-17 in the opening round of the 2010 FCS playoffs.
NDSU will travel to Fort Collins, Colo., to face Colorado State on Sept. 8. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. (CT).