Bison rout South Dakota, improve to 8-0

VERMILLION, S.D. (NDSU Athletics) -- Easton Stick threw three first-half touchdown passes and No. 1-ranked North Dakota State marched to a 59-14 win over South Dakota in the Missouri Valley Football Conference on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the DakotaDome.

Stick's third TD was a 6-yard strike to tight end Ben Ellefson and put the Bison ahead 35-7 late in the second quarter. It was Stick's 73 career TD pass, topping Brock Jensen's school record of 72 from 2010-13.

Stick finished 12 of 19 passing for 176 yards and rushed seven times for 79 yards and two scores. Lance Dunn notched his ninth career 100-yard rushing game and second this year with 12 carries for 114 yards.

NDSU's two-play, 68-yard scoring drive on the second possession of the game was a sign of things to come. Darrius Shepherd's 53-yard catch and Ellefson's 15-yard TD reception were two of NDSU's eight explosive plays from scrimmage that went 20 or more yards.

Shepherd also had a 75-yard punt return touchdown called back by a penalty, Jabril Cox returned an interception 34 yards, and Ty Brooks had kick returns of 22 and 21 yards.

NDSU scored on 9 of 13 possessions before running out the clock on the final drive, and five of those scoring drives took four plays or less. When the Bison didn't score, Garret Wegner flipped the field with four impressive punts averaging 50.8 yards.

Cox had five tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss and his interception all in the first quarter alone before finishing with nine tackles. South Dakota native Dan Marlette made a team-high 10 tackles and Spencer Waege had a fumble recovery for the Bison.

NDSU's 59 points were the most by the Bison against a Missouri Valley Football Conference opponent, tying the mark set against Western Illinois in 2015.

North Dakota State is scheduled to host Youngstown State at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3. The Penguins are 3-5 overall and 2-3 in the conference after a 43-17 home loss to Indiana State.

More details to come.