NDSU Defeats North Alabama for Second Win of Season, 38-7

FARGO, N.D. (NDSU Athletics) -- No. 1-ranked North Dakota State improved to 2-0 on the football season with a 38-7 victory over North Alabama on Saturday, Sept. 15, before a crowd of 18,557 at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome.

Starting quarterback Easton Stick went 10 of 17 passing for 162 yards and one touchdown while rushing for another score. Bruce Anderson rushed for 56 yards and one TD, and freshman quarterback Trey Lance had 54 yards including a 44-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

Safety Robbie Grimsley led the NDSU defense with 11 tackles and linebacker Jabril Cox added seven tackles and a 43-yard interception return for a touchdown.

The Bison got to the quarterback early and often. Cox had two of NDSU's six quarterback hurries and defensive tackle Cole Karcz had two of NDSU's four sacks, which all came in the first half.

NDSU capitalized on an early North Alabama turnover to open the scoring. James Hendricks recovered an errant snap over the head of punter UNA Joe Gurley on the 3-yard-line to set up Anderson's 1-yard TD two plays later to make it 7-0.

Wide receiver Dallas Freeman made a career-high four catches for 117 yards, including a 54-yard strike in the second quarter on a third-and-2 that put NDSU at the UNA 18-yard line. Stick found Darrius Shepherd on the next play, and Shepherd broke a tackle before diving inside the pylon and putting NDSU up 14-0.

Freeman added a 48-yard reception on the next drive that led to a 20-yard Cam Pedersen field goal after a goal-line stop by the Lions. The Bison took a 17-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Pedersen, who made 4 of 4 PAT kicks in the game, tied Adam Keller's school record of 191 career PAT kicks made. Freshman Jake Reinholz came on to kick the fifth PAT for the Bison in the fourth quarter.

North Dakota State closes out non-conference play against Delaware out of the Colonial Athletic Association in the annual homecoming game at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22. The Blue Hens are 2-1 after a 27-10 home victory over Cornell.