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Wofford Comes Up Just Short

By Southern Pigskin Staff
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Another great season for the Terriers comes to a close with a 14-7 quarterfinals loss to North Dakota State.

FARGO, N.D. – The Wofford football team’s season came to an end with a 14-7 loss to North Dakota State on Saturday afternoon in the Fargodome. The Terriers outgained NDSU in total offense, but were limited to a defensive touchdown in the NCAA FCS quarterfinals. The Bison will advance to host Georgia Southern in the semifinals.

The Terriers finish 9-4 on the season. Defending national champion North Dakota State is 12-1 and ranked first in the nation. For Wofford, Eric Breitenstein ended his stellar career with 135 yards on 24 carries. The Bison were led by Brock Jensen with 60 rushing yards and 13-of-18 passing for 95 yards and a touchdown.

“I felt that both teams played really hard,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “For us it was a situation of lost opportunities. We had two pretty good drives, but ball security jumps up and bites us. We played well enough defensively to keep the game within a score and we fought our tails off to try and get it in there. They did a great job of blocking the field goal. We had guys that put their heart and soul into the game. It was a great game and I have a great deal of respect for North Dakota State.”

The Bison had the ball to open the game and drove down the field with five first downs. The drive was capped by a one-yard touchdown run by Sam Ojuri to give NDSU a 7-0 lead with 9:37 on the clock in the first quarter.

On the first drive for the Terriers, Donovan Johnson picked up a first down with a 27-yard run. Brian Kass was reaching for the first down when he had the ball stripped and Cole Jirik recovered the ball for NDSU. The Bison went three and out and punted after a sack by Alvin Scioneaux. Wofford gained one first down before punting back to NDSU.

Starting on the one-yard line after the punt, the Bison gained a first down, but then Blake Wylie intercepted Brock Jensen and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown. The score was tied at 7-7 at 14:06 in the second quarter. On the next drive by NDSU, they gained on rushing first down before punting back to the Terriers.

Wofford was only able to gain one first down before two false start penalties forced a punt. The Bison started at the three-yard line. After one first down, Brock Jensen ran 39 yards for a first down and two pass interference calls moved the Bison inside the 20-yard line. A 16-yard touchdown pass from Brock Jensen to Zach Vraa gave NDSU a 14-7 lead with 1:02 left in the first half. With the ball back, the Terriers gained one first down before the end of the half.

To open the second half, Wofford picked up two first downs. Travis Beck forced a Brian Kass fumble that was recovered by Andre Martin. The Bison gained only one first down before punting the ball back to the Terriers. Wofford went three-and-out and punted. The Bison were driving when James Zotto forced a fumble that was recovered by Stephon Shelton with 2:45 left in the third quarter.

Eric Breitenstein ran 39 yards for a first down to cross midfield. On fourth-and-eight, James Lawson completed a pass to Eric Breitenstein for the first down. Then, on fourth-and-three Brad Nocek took the pitch for a first down. The Terriers attempted a 26-yard field goal, but it was partially blocked and the Bison took over at the 20-yard line with 11:44 left in the game. NDSU gained a first down before punting back to Wofford.

The Terriers opened the drive with a 24-yard pass from James Lawson to Jeff Ashley. Wofford drove inside the 20-yard line, but on fourth-and-three from the seven only gained one yard and turned it over on downs with 3:24 remaining on the clock. The Bison picked up one first down, but punted back to Wofford with only 49 seconds remaining. The Terriers ran out of time with the ball across midfield.

Wofford had 326 total yards, with 262 on the ground. NDSU had 262 total yards, 167 of which were rushing. NDSU had a 17 to 14 advantage in first downs. Wofford was 5-of-13 on third downs and 3-of-4 on fourth down. NDSU was 3-of-9 on third down. Wofford had six penalties to only one for NDSU. Wofford had a 30:20 to 29:40 time of possession advantage.

Wofford vs. NDSU Post-Game Notes

Eric Breitenstein now has 5,730 career rushing yards, second most in SoCon history. He is behind Adrian Peterson (GSU) with 6,559 yards.

Eric Breitenstein marked his 32nd career 100+ rushing game with 135 yards on 24 carries. He rushed for over 100 yards in all but one game (Lincoln) this season. The twelve 100-yard games in a season in a new SoCon record and the eleven consecutive 100-yard games tied an NCAA record.

Blake Wylie had his third interception this season. It was the eighth of his career and first interception return for a touchdown in his career.

North Dakota State is ranked first in the nation. Against teams ranked first, the Terriers are now 1-4, with the lone win against Appalachian State in 2007.

The Bison were the top rushing defense in the nation at only 63 yards per game, but the Terriers ran for 262.

Game captains were Calvin Cantrell, Jake Miles, and Mike Niam.

Attendance was 18,267 at the FargoDome.