Dunn on impressive early-season record pace
FARGO — North Dakota State running back Lance Dunn hasn’t been timed in the 40-yard dash for a while and really doesn’t know what it could be right now. He just knows it’s faster than what it was last year.
And that’s fast. Ask Robert Morris University (Pa.), which couldn’t get a handle on Dunn the four times he touched the ball last Saturday. He had three rushing touchdowns and a TD reception, becoming the first Bison player to score four in a game since D.J. McNorton did it in the 2010 FCS playoffs.
“That’s impressive for the whole team in general,” said Bison offensive lineman Tanner Volson.
Dunn leads the FCS in touchdowns with nine in three games. The team single-season record is 23 set by Jeff Bentrim in 1986 and Lamar Gordon in 2000.
“He’s really been impressive and we’ve known he’s a special player,” said quarterback Easton Stick. “Now he’s just had the opportunity to touch the ball a little bit more in the first three games.”
Dunn has 29 carries for 401 yards, an average of 13.8 yards per carry. Those statistics look more like something in a video game — but they are expected to change now that Missouri Valley Football Conference play is starting. NDSU hosts Missouri State Saturday, Sept. 30, at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.
But there is no question the 5-foot-9, 211-pound junior has improved his stock, not to mention his speed, since last season.
“I feel a lot faster with a lot more body control and vision and everything,” he said. “That’s the big thing, I don’t like to get caught from behind and I take pride in that.”
Another big thing: working on his one-on-one moves in the offseason with the help of senior defensive back Tre Dempsey. It was a common occurrence in the summer, with Dunn catching a pass and working on a few elusive moves in front of Dempsey.
“He really worked on that with me,” Dunn said. “He would critique me and I think it’s important to get critiqued from a defensive perspective.”
Dunn was the second go-to running back last year behind senior King Frazier, although there wasn’t much separation. Frazier had more attempts, but Dunn led the team in rushing with 996 yards.
This combination of note this year is Dunn and junior Bruce Anderson, who was hurt for a chunk of last season.
Certainly, the pre-conference schedule this season was significantly more forgiving with Mississippi Valley State and Robert Morris at home. Dunn’s abbreviated playing time last week was enough for him to earn the Missouri Valley co-Offensive Player of the Week.
“He’s a hard-working kid and if you block for him he’ll get yards for you,” Volson said. “I feel like it’s maturity, but that’s everybody growing up from last year. One more year mature just helps you out a lot.”