Quarterback Brock Jensen and wide receiver Warren Holloway hooked up on a pair of long touchdown passes and D.J. McNorton rushed for three more as North Dakota State University defeated Lafayette College 42-6 in the season opener for both teams played Saturday, Sept. 3, before 17,023 in the Fargodome.
North Dakota State (1-0) is scheduled to host Saint Francis University (Pa.) at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, in the Fargodome. The Red Flash (0-1) lost to Wagner 38-28 on Saturday.
The Jensen and Holloway combo clicked for TD passes of 67 and 57 yards. Jensen completed 15 of 22 passes for 197 yards, two TDs and no interceptions. Holloway caught six passes for 147 yards and the pair of TD receptions tied a career-high.
North Dakota State struck first 11 seconds into the second quarter on the Jensen-Holloway 67 yard connection to take a 7-0 lead. The Bison took a 14-0 lead on McNorton's first TD on a fourth-and-one play with eight seconds left before halftime.
McNorton rushed 13 times for 80 yards, while Sam Ojuri topped his previous career-high with 75 yards on 15 carries. The Bison had 416 yards of total offense and held a 32:05 to 27:55 edge in time of possession.
NDSU's defense narrowly missed its first shutout since 2006 against Lafayette (0-1). Ryan O'Neill hit Mitchell Bennett for a 6-yard touchdown pass to start the fourth quarter. The Bison limited the Leopards to eight first downs, 54 yards rushing and 144 yards overall. The 54 yards rushing were lowest total allowed by the Bison since last year's 27 yards given up against Indiana State.
Strong safety Colten Heagle's eight tackles paced NDSU's defense, while linebacker Chad Willson had six stops including 3.5 tackles for loss. Defensive ends Coulter Boyer, Cole Jirik and Kyle Emanuel, along with Willson each recorded a sack. Twenty-five different NDSU players were credited with a tackle.
Lafayette linebacker Ben Eaton finished with a game-high nine tackles. O'Neil completed 15 of 21 passes for 144 yards, one TD and no interceptions. Bennett caught three passes for 45 yards.
There no turnovers in the game and the teams combined for only seven penalties.
NDSU QUICK-HITTERS: It was a night of collegiate firsts for a number of North Dakota State players. Wide receivers Trevor Gebhart (4-20), Ryan Smith (3-13) and Zach Vraa (2-13), along with tight end Kevin Vaadeland each caught their first pass ... Punter Matt Voigtlander had five kicks for an average of 31 yards per attempt, three fair catches and two inside the 20 ... Running back Wes Hudson had his first carry ... Emanuel recorded his first sack and QB hurry ... First tackles were credited to defensive tackle Danny Luecke, linebacker Carlton Littlejohn, cornerback Christian Dudzik, linebacker Travis Beck, cornerback Aireal Boyd, linebacker Tyler Gefroh and nose guard Justin Juckem ... Quarterback Esley Thorton completed 3 of 3 for 39 yards in his first action.
North Dakota State won its 11th straight season opener at home. The last loss was to Emporia State 23-21 in 1998.
Head coach Craig Bohl recorded his 62nd win to move in sole possession of second on NDSU's all-time coaching list. Rocky Hager is first with 91 victories.
Kicker Ryan Jastram hit seven extra points to extend his streak to 49 straight PATs without a miss.
Ryan Smith returned six punts for 73 yards including a long return of 24. He also had a kickoff return for 27 yards.