FCS Semifinals: North Dakota State Will Ride Defense to Win vs. Georgia Southern

Patrick ClarkeCorrespondent IDecember 17, 2011

Photo courtesy of lehighfootballnation.blogspot.com
Photo courtesy of lehighfootballnation.blogspot.com

Missouri Valley Conference champion North Dakota State will ride its No. 1 ranked scoring defense to a pivotal FCS semifinal win over Georgia Southern on Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET). 

No team has been as dominant as the Bison this season in shutting down opposing offenses. 

North Dakota State is only allowing 13.7 points per game in 2011, tops in all of FCS, and also leads the league in interception touchdowns, tied atop with Southern Utah with five. 

The lesson to be learned here is that the Bison's D is fierce, and championship-worthy. 

They blasted Lehigh last weekend 24-0 and have only given up 14 points total all postseason. 

Georgia Southern is no chump of a team, however. The Eagles sport the fourth-best scoring offense in all of FCS, averaging more than 37 points per game. 

In their two playoff wins over Old Dominion and Maine, the Eagles posted 55 and 35 on the board. 

Georgia Southern will rely on its second-ranked rushing attack for most if not all of its offense on Saturday though.

Quarterback Jaybo Shaw has thrown for only 1,342 yards this season, and the offense will likely continue to come from Shaw's legs as well as the one-two backfield punch of Robert Brown and Dominique Swope.

But balance is key for any team looking to win it all, at any level.

North Dakota State boasts an offense that can beat opponents in a variety of ways, with quarterback Brock Jensen completing more than 68 percent of his passes for 2,267 yards this season, and a lethal running back duo of Sam Ojuri and D.J. McNorton. 

Both backs have rushed for more than 10 touchdowns this season and will only add to Georgia Southern's defensive troubles on the road.

The Bison, playing at home with a chance to earn an FCS finals berth, will dominate on defense and apply far too much pressure on the Eagles to stop their balanced offensive attack.

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