Frisco, TX – In today's age of high-powered, fast-tempo offenses, it can be hard to be impressed by teams that just simply run the ball with power and consistency.
But that type of system that has worked well for North Dakota State over the last two seasons, and the Bison are a win away over Sam Houston State on Saturday from a second straight FCS national championship.
This year, the Bison ground game has not been the flashiest, but it works.
"We've been doing this for a couple of years at North Dakota State," said NDSU running back Sam Ojuri, who shares carries with John Crockett. "Instead of having one good back, we have two. It helps your body so much at this time of the season. We're both feeling pretty good and fresh and it helps a lot knowing that one of us doesn't have to take the entire work load. We both take pride in our work, and we've both gotten better each day."
The Sam Houston State defense can expect to see a lot of Ojuri and Crockett when trying to slow down the NDSU offense, which leads the FCS in time of possession.
Crockett has played in all 14 games this season, starting just one, but been very productive. He's rushed for 956 yards and nine touchdowns and averages 68.3 yards per game.
Ojuri, who has more experience and has started each of his 13 games, has 955 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns and a 73.5-yard average.
The Sam Houston State defense surprisingly ranks better than the Bison, allowing just 84.1 rushing yards per game this season. Versus FCS competition, the Bearkats have given up only two rushing touchdowns.
"They're darn good, and we understand that," Crockett said. "But we're pretty good, too. They have players, we have players. They have athletes, we have athletes. Should be a battle of the titans."
NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen also can hurt teams in the red zone with his awareness and his legs. The junior only averages 22 rushing yards per game, but has scored nine touchdowns on the ground in 14 games.
The top-ranked Bison, from the Missouri Valley Football Conference, have a 13-1 record. Sam Houston is 11-3 out of the Southland Conference.