MINNEAPOLIS (NDSU Athletics) -- New coaches, new players and a new stadium all yielded a familiar result for the North Dakota State football team in the season opener Saturday, Aug. 31, at Target Field.
Quarterback Trey Lance accounted for six touchdowns in his first start as the No. 1-ranked Bison rolled up 605 yards of total offense to beat Butler 57-10 in the first game under NDSU first-year head coach Matt Entz.
Lance, a redshirt freshman from Marshall, Minn., rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns while completing 10 of 11 passes for 185 yards and four scores. He was the first freshman to start a season opener at quarterback for NDSU, which graduated 24 seniors a year ago.
Sophomore tight end Josh Babicz caught touchdown passes of 15 and 3 yards, sophomore receiver Phoenix Sproles scored on a 47-yard pass and sophomore tight end Noah Gindorff caught a 26-yard TD. Senior running back Ty Brooks had a 36-yard TD run and redshirt freshman Saybein Clark also scored for the Bison.
NDSU's defense limited Butler to a 29-yard Drew Bevelhimer field goal in the third quarter with sophomore middle linebacker Jackson Hankey leading NDSU with eight tackles. The Bulldogs scored their lone touchdown on a 29-yard fumble recovery by Dan DelGrosso.
The second college football game and first-ever Division I game at Target Field drew a crowd of 34,544 mostly yellow- and green-clad fans. It was the 10th largest crowd in NDSU football history.
Entz, defensive coordinator at NDSU the previous five seasons, elected to receive the opening kickoff after the Bison won the pregame coin toss - a different move for a Bison program that has traditionally deferred its choice to the second half.
Lance's 33-yard touchdown run capped an eight-play, 90-yard opening drive before the Bison surprised again on the PAT try. Senior safety James Hendricks, a former quarterback, took the snap and pitched to kicker Jake Reinholz who trotted into the right side of the end zone for the two-point conversion.
NDSU's defense got a three-and-out and the Bison quickly made it a 15-0 game two plays later. Brooks got the Bison across midfield with a 21-yard run to the 47 and Sproles beat a defender to make a diving catch in the end zone.
North Dakota State had a 349-67 advantage in total yards at halftime and led 36-0 at the break after the three touchdown receptions by tight ends Babicz and Gindorff.
NDSU outgained Butler 605-198 and averaged 10.3 yards per play. The Bison rushed 45 times for 388 yards including 93 from Brooks, 63 from true freshman Kobe Johnson and 61 from converted wide receiver Dimitri Williams.
Junior cornerback Josh Hayes made five tackles and broke up two passes for the Bison defense, and Hendricks made his 10th career interception. Senior cornerback Marquise Bridges also had two breakups.