Bison set scoring record in season-opening win against Mississippi Valley State
By Eric Peterson
Forum News Service
FARGO — North Dakota State University set a new scoring standard for its football program during the NCAA Division I era Saturday, Sept. 2, at the Fargodome.
The No. 2-ranked Bison racked up a record amount of points since the school moved to FCS in 2004, cruising to a 72-7 season-opening victory against Mississippi Valley State in nonconference play at Gate City Bank Field before a sellout crowd of 18,502 fans.
“Guys made plays with the football,” said Bison quarterback Easton Stick, who completed 5 of 5 passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
NDSU dominated the first quarter and was never challenged. The Bison scored 30 points in the opening 15 minutes, gaining 275 yards on 15 plays. Stick had a hand in three first-quarter scores. He threw two TD passes to senior wide receiver RJ Urzendowski. Stick also added an 8-yard scoring run near the midway point of the first quarter.
“I liked him throughout the entire camp,” Bison head coach Chris Klieman said. “He has so much confidence in what we’re doing.”
Stick’s second scoring pass to Urzendowski covered 11 yards and gave the Bison a 30-0 lead with 3 minutes, 1 second remaining in the opening quarter.
NDSU piled up 683 yards, a school record in the Division I era, and take a 1-0 record into its highly anticipated non-conference game at Eastern Washington next week.
Saturday was the largest margin of victory for the Bison, since they defeated Minnesota State Moorhead 80-0 in 2000. That’s the school record for points in a game, and came when NDSU was a Division II program.
The Bison scored touchdowns on their first five drives against the Delta Devils, taking a 37-0 lead after sophomore running back Ty Brooks scored on a 6-yard run on the first play of the second quarter.
“Efficient, I think would be the word,” Stick said.
Bison running back Lance Dunn led team with 142 yards on seven carries, including a 73-yard scoring burst that gave NDSU a 51-7 lead with 14:06 to play in the third quarter. Brooks rushed for a career-high 127 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. NDSU rushed for 498 yards on 53 carries to set a D-I era record for rushing yards in a game.
Mississippi Valley State, coming off consecutive 1-10 seasons, left Fargo with a $240,000 guarantee.
The Delta Devils put together once nice drive in the first half, going 74 yards on nine plays to make it 44-7 at halftime. Mississippi Valley State backup quarterback Christopher Fowler scored from the 1-yard line with 2:49 to play until halftime.
“I was a little disappointed at the end of the second quarter,” Klieman said. “We had some breakdowns on defense.”
Bison senior quarterback Cole Davis got his first career touchdown pass with a 3-yard toss to sophomore tight end Ben Ellefson in the third quarter. It was Ellefson’s first career score.
A couple true freshmen made their debuts for the Bison. Defensive end Logan McCormick from Appleton, Wis., and cornerback Josh Hayes from Lakeland, Fla., both had their redshirts lifted.
Bison freshman left tackle Dillon Radunz, sophomore safety Jaxon Brown and sophomore running back Demaris Purifoy all left the game with knee injuries.
NDSU sophomore safety James Hendricks came up with his first career interception in the second quarter. Hendricks moved to safety from quarterback last spring.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Hendricks, who is from Laporte, Minn. “I finally got to feel what it was like playing in front of these fans.”