FARGO, N.D. (NDSU Athletics) -- Top-ranked North Dakota State scored four unanswered touchdowns in the second half to cruise to a 46-14 victory over 10th-ranked Northern Iowa in the Missouri Valley Football Conference on Saturday, Oct. 12.
It was the 27th consecutive victory for North Dakota State, which improved to 6-0 overall and 2-0 in conference play heading into next week's home game with Missouri State. UNI fell to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the conference.
NDSU held an 18-14 lead at halftime and took the momentum early in the third quarter when Bison cornerback Josh Hayes leveled UNI receiver Deion McShane to cause a fumble recovered by NDSU's Marquise Bridges at the UNI 35.
Two plays later, wide-open tight end Noah Gindorff caught a 30-yard touchdown from quarterback Trey Lance to put NDSU ahead 25-14.
Adam Cofield added rushing touchdowns of 1 and 37 yards in the fourth quarter, and Kobe Johnson scored on a 50-yard burst up the middle for the final margin. Cofield had 15 carries for a career-high 104 yards and the Bison finished with 347 rushing yards while averaging 6.8 per carry.
Hayes finished with six tackles and three pass breakups for the NDSU defense, while safety Michael Tutsie made six tackles and linebacker James Kaczor made a team-high seven stops. Defensive end Derrek Tuszka had three total tackles - two sacks and one for lost yardage.
NDSU quarterback Trey Lance was 10 of 18 passing for 145 yards and three touchdowns, including passes of 36 yards to Phoenix Sproles and 19 yards to Christian Watson that gave the Bison a 15-0 lead in the first quarter.
UNI quarterback Will McElvain finished 15 of 29 passing for 233 yards and one touchdown, a 17-yard pass to Isaiah Weston early in the second quarter that cut NDSU's lead to 15-7 before Griffin Crosa converted a 25-yard field goal to put NDSU ahead 18-7.
Tyler Hoosman rushed 12 times for 54 yards to lead the UNI rushing attack. He scored on a 6-yard run late in the second quarter to pull the Panthers within four points.
A crowd of 18,178 was announced at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome for the annual homecoming game despite blizzard conditions that closed many roads across the eastern half of North Dakota.
North Dakota State is scheduled to host Missouri State in the annual Trees Bowl game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. The Bears are 1-4 overall and 1-1 in the conference after a 45-10 home loss to South Dakota.