Manhattan, KS – At some point, when North Dakota State comes knocking at the door, an FBS school will be smart not to answer it.
The two-time defending FCS national champion Bison stunned Kansas State, 24-21, Friday night - the fourth straight year in which they have defeated an FBS opponent.
Quarterback Brock Jensen capped an 18-play drive on a 1-yard keeper with 28 seconds left to erase a 21-17 deficit and lift the Bison (1-0) before a sellout crowd at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and a nationally televised audience.
North Dakota State hasn't lost a road game since the 2010 FCS quarterfinals. The win was head coach Craig Bohl's 90th in 11 seasons with the Bison, leaving him one shy of Rocky Hager's school record.
The season-opening loss was the first for Kansas State (0-1) since 1981.
"We have a remarkable program," Bohl said. "We have a remarkable group of seniors and they have a tremendous amount of confidence. They are not cocky, they have a strong conviction, and we even talked about that during the course of being down by a couple possessions. It certainly does not surprise us, but I think it is just another notch. We have had a lot of these type of wins, but never over a program like this."
Jensen, who accounted for three touchdowns, completed 21-of-30 pass attempts for 164 yards.
The redshirt senior engineered the game-winning drive, which went 80 yards and clipped 8 minutes, 30 seconds off the game clock. On the touchdown, he spun around after taking the snap and forced his way into the K-State end zone.
On Kansas State's final possession, Bison linebacker Grant Olson intercepted Wildcats quarterback Jake Waters to put the game away.
The two-time-defending Missouri Valley Football Conference champions, who are top-ranked in The Sports Network FCS Top 25, truly were purple people eaters in improving to 7-3 against FCS opponents since 2006.
North Dakota State scored the game's final 17 points in pulling the upset.
The Bison trailed 21-7 in the third quarter before it cut the deficit in half on Jensen's second touchdown pass, a 9-yarder to tight end Kevin Vaadeland with 3:43 left.
On their next possession, the Bison were seemingly pinned at their 2-yard line, but Sam Ojuri broke off a 66-yard run on the first play. The long gain set up Adam Keller's 41-yard field goal, which pulled the Bison within 21-17 with 12 seconds left in the quarter.
NDSU scored the game's opening touchdown after Christian Dudzik's 49-yard punt return put the Bison at the Kansas State 23. Five plays later, Jensen connected with Ryan Smith on a 5-yard pass across the front of the Wildcats' end zone with 56 seconds left in the first quarter.
Walters, who is replacing Collin Klein, the third-place finisher in the Heisman Trophy voting last December, threw a 45-youchdown pass to Tramaine Thompson to tie the game at 7-7 with 10:13 left in the second quarter.
Kansas State took a 14-7 lead on Walters' 56-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett just 1:01 into the third quarter. Lockett got behind Bison All-America cornerback Marcus Williams along the sideline and beat him for the go-ahead score.
A Dante Barrett interception of Jensen on the ensuing possession then set up a short 36-yard Kansas State scoring drive, capped by Daniel Sames' 17-yard touchdown run with 9:58 left in the third quarter.
North Dakota State held the ball for nearly 12 more minutes than Kansas State. Ojuri finished with 126 yards on 10 carries, helping the Bison control the clock with 215 rushing yards.
The Bison's winning streak over FBS opponents began with victories at Kansas in 2010, Minnesota in 2011 and Colorado State in 2012.