YOUGNSTOWN, Ohio (NDSU Athletics) -- No. 1-ranked North Dakota State scored three first-quarter touchdowns and rolled to a 56-17 victory over Youngstown State in the Missouri Valley Football Conference on Saturday, Nov. 2, at Stambaugh Stadium.
Freshman quarterback Trey Lance was 7 of 9 passing for 160 yards and three touchdowns for the Bison, who improved to 9-0 overall and 5-0 in the conference with their 30th straight win. Youngstown State fell to 5-4 overall and 1-4 in the league.
Freshman running back Kobe Johnson had six carries for 103 yards including a 75-yard touchdown run. He also scored on a 94-yard kickoff return and finished with 241 all-purpose yards. Senior Dimitri Williams had six carries for 46 yards and two TDs.
NDSU sophomore tight end Josh Babicz made three catches for 41 yards including two 6-yard touchdowns. Sophomore wide receiver Phoenix Sproles led all players with three catches for 69 yards.
Junior linebackers Jabril Cox and Aaron Mercadel had seven tackles apiece to lead the NDSU defense. Eight different players had tackles for loss.
YSU’s running backs combined for only 70 rushing yards, but the Penguins had success with the quarterback run game led by true freshman Mark Waid’s eight carries for 79 yards and one touchdown.
NDSU set the tone early capitalizing on a fumbled punt after going three-and-out on the game’s opening series. Lance scored on a 9-yard run four plays later for a 7-0 lead.
The Bison capped a four-play scoring drive on the next possession with a 69-yard pass from Lance in stride to Christian Watson behind the defense to make it 14-0.
It was 35-0 before Youngstown State scored on a 23-yard pass from Joe Craycraft to Miles Joiner, but Johnson took the ensuing kickoff 94 yards up the middle of the field to make it 42-7 before halftime.
Johnson’s kickoff return touchdown was the first for NDSU since the 2015 national quarterfinals when Bruce Anderson went 97 yards against Northern Iowa. Johnson was the first Bison player with a kickoff return and rushing TD in the same game since Anderson did it in the 2015 second round playoff win over Montana.
Lance extended his streak to 160 consecutive passing attempts without an interception, breaking the NDSU school record of 152 set by Easton Stick from 2016 to 2017.
North Dakota State hosts Western Illinois in the annual Harvest Bowl game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9. The Fighting Leathernecks beat South Dakota 38-34 for their first win of the season.