ST. LOUIS (NDSU Athletics) - Missouri Valley Football Conference champion North Dakota State swept the league's five major coach and player of the year awards Wednesday, Nov. 27, selected by a vote of the league's head coaches, media and sports information directors.
First-year head coach Matt Entz was named the Bruce Craddock MVFC Coach of the Year, defensive end Derrek Tuszka was named Defensive Player of the Year, and quarterback Trey Lance was named Freshman, Newcomer and Offensive Player of the Year. Lance is the first freshman to earn the league's top offensive award.
Entz, who spent the previous five seasons as North Dakota State's defensive coordinator, inherited a team that lost 24 seniors and 15 full-time starters. He led NDSU to the No. 1 national seed for the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs with a 12-0 record, which is the best start by a first-year coach in NDSU and MVFC history. He is a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, presented to the FCS coach of the year.
The Bison beat six Top 25 teams including four on the road, and North Dakota State leads the FCS in scoring defense (12.2) and the MVFC in total defense (274.2), scoring offense (40.0) and total offense (493.4) among other categories.
Tuszka, a senior from Warner, S.D., is the MVFC's active career leader with 26.5 sacks, which ranks sixth all-time at NDSU. Tuszka ranks third in the conference with 10.5 sacks this season and 10th in the FCS with 0.95 sacks per game. He has 37 total tackles including 15.5 tackles for loss plus three pass breakups, one forced fumble and six quarterback hurries. He is a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, presented to the FCS defensive player of the year.
Lance, a redshirt freshman from Marshall, Minn., is the FCS leader in passing efficiency (187.5) and yards per passing attempt (9.99) and ranks second in completion percentage (.689). He has thrown 220 career passes with 23 touchdowns and zero interceptions, and his 2,187 passing yards this year are sixth in MVFC history by a freshman quarterback.
Lance is the top rushing quarterback in the MVFC and second leading rusher at NDSU with 741 yards, 7.0 yards per carry and 10 TDs. He was named MVFC Offensive Player of the Week and Newcomer of the Week after accounting for 301 yards and six touchdowns in the season-opener against Butler, and was Newcomer of the Week with 232 total yards and three TDs at Illinois State.
Lance is a finalist for the Jerry Rice Award, presented to the top freshman player in the FCS, and is also a finalist for the Walter Payton Award, presented to the top offensive player in the FCS.
He is the third North Dakota State quarterback named MVFC Offensive Player of the Year, joining Brock Jensen (2013) and Easton Stick (2018). He and linebacker Jabril Cox (2017) are the only two Bison players to earn either the MVFC Newcomer of the Year or Freshman of the Year awards, and Lance is the fourth player in MVFC history to earn both.
Tuszka is the second straight Bison named MVFC Defensive Player of the Year joining cornerback Marcus Williams (2012), defensive end Kyle Emanuel (2014) and linebacker Jabril Cox (2018).
Entz earned the fifth MVFC Coach of the Year award for NDSU joining three-time winner Craig Bohl (2011-13) and Chris Klieman (2017).