« NDSU Bison

Where Is The Hardware?

by Dan Gunderson

On Wednesday, December 18, the Sports Network named their FCS All-American team.The North Dakota State University Bison football team had four members make the cut but there a couple who didn't make it that I take issue with.

The four that did were Andrew Grothmann, Colten Heagle, Billy Turner and Marcus Williams. Grothmann, Turner and Williams were all named to the First-Team while Heagle was named to the Third-Team.

They all are deserving of this mention and Turner and Williams were awarded another honor when they both were named to the Walter Camp All-American Team for a second straight year for Turner and a third straight year for Williams.

The players I didn't see on these lists, however, were more glaring to me. There are three in specific I didn't see and I will explain why I thought these three players deserved more recognition.

Zach Vraa - WR

His reception numbers this season are nothing to do a double take with. He only has 59 receptions so far this season and that puts him way down there as far as receptions per game are considered. However, look at the yards and touchdowns.

His 1,064 yards is 20th best in the NCAA and second best in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. His 13 touchdowns is tied for 7th in the NCAA and tops in the Valley. He is a game changer with his ability to bring in the long ball.

The reason NDSU had the Valley's best offense and a top 20 offense nationally had a lot to do with his emergence as a big play receiver. I felt he deserved a little more recognition but his reception numbers hurt him.

Ben LeCompte - P

To really appreciate what LeCompte has done this season, you need to think about these next two sentences. Of his 45 punts this season, 12 have been fair caught, 10 have been touchbacks and 16 have not been returned. In the SEVEN that have been, teams have totaled nine return yards.

Now, a lot of that has to be credited to the coverage team but most of it goes to the fact LeCompte is such a good punter, he never out kicks the coverage. You also have to think of the fact that of 45 punts, 20 of them have ended up inside the 20.

The yards he averages per punt, 42.8, is good enough for top 20 in the nation and second best in the Valley. He also is the primary kickoff guy, which makes him twice as important. The only reason I can think of why he didn't grab more attention nationally is lack of punting, which really isn't his fault. 

Brock Jensen - QB

This is the biggest surprise of all the players. First, he was not even a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, given to the best player in the FCS, and then he doesn't make the list for the Sports Network's All-American team. 

Here are some stats that are a direct result of how the quarterback manages the game. NDSU is first in the nation in converting on third down, first in time of possession, seventh in red zone scoring, seventh in interceptions and 14th in scoring offense.

Individually, Jensen does not appear in the top echelon of those sexy stats like passing yards, touchdowns or completions. What is one of the top in the nation at is passing efficiency. Third best, in fact, with an efficiency of 169.7. 

He has thrown 30 touchdowns and only six interceptions. OH! There is also. He is the all-time, ALL-TIME!!!!!!!!!!!, winningest quarterback in the history of FCS football with 46. I suppose winning is not the best thing to do to get you noticed.

Funny how at this point in the year, I am advocating for Jensen to get more attention when at the beginning of the year I thought he was getting too much attention. My, how things have changed.

You can follow Daniel "Pinto" Gunderson on Twitter at @pintoKFGO or friend him on Facebook. You can hear him on his weekly podcast show on kfgo.com, 740thefan.com or on iTunes called “The Pinto and White Shadow Show.” Pinto is a radio producer within the Midwest Communications-Fargo company.