Stick's four touchdown passes help No. 2-ranked Bison steamroll Indiana State
TERRE HAUTE, Ind.—North Dakota State started early, kept the hammer down through three quarters and pounded Indiana State Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
It wasn't close from the get-go. Quarterback Easton Stick threw four touchdown passes and the Bison rolled the Sycamores 52-0.
The win on a windy, warm and sunny day before 4,743 fans at Memorial Stadium boosted the No. 2-ranked Bison to 5-0 overall and 2-0 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and kept the Sycamores winless in five games.
"It was a dominating performance from start to finish," said Bison head coach Chris Klieman.
It helped the Sycamores were gracious hosts in committing six turnovers—three interceptions and three fumbles. Stick and the offense took advantage.
"It feels good, we're playing well as an offense," Stick said. "The thing that helps is when your defense is taking the ball away and you're getting short fields and from there we're just trying to get it in the end zone."
It was another fruitful game for NDSU running back Lance Dunn, whose two touchdowns gave him 13 for the season and over halfway to the school record of 23 set by Jeff Bentrim in 1986.
Indiana State played Illinois State relatively tight last week in a loss and dropped two others late in the game. The Sycamores were never in this one.
"We pride ourselves in dominating four quarters," said Bison cornerback Jaylaan Wimbush, "and that's what we did today."
Stick was dominating in the three quarters that he played completing 18 of 23 passes for 191 yards. Tight end Connor Wentz's six-yard touchdown reception from Stick on NDSU's first offensive series set the tone for a big first half lead. One series later, Wentz was wide open from four yards out and it was 14-0 early in the second quarter.
That culminated an 11-play, 83-yard drive that established the Bison as the better team at the line of scrimmage.
"You saw the No. 1 rushing offense in the country, I like that about them," said Indiana State head coach Curt Mallory. "They stopped the run. I like that about them. They are a big, physical group that plays all three phases of the game very well. I like that about them."
It could have been worse for the Sycamores in the first half. Wimbush recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and the Bison were in business again at the ISU 18-yard line. But all NDSU got out of it was a 36-yard Cam Pedersen field goal to make it 24-0.
It was just three plays later when ISU fumbled again, with Wimbush forcing a fumble on Sycamore quarterback Cade Sparks and Stanley Jones recovering it at the 23. But Bruce Anderson fumbled on the 1 and the Sycamores recovered late in the half.
As haphazard as the last minute of the half was for the Bison, the first two minutes of the second were not. NDSU took the second half kickoff and needed only three plays to score, with Stick's 44-yard run the big play. His 14-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Freeman made it 31-0 with 13:42 left in the third quarter.
Wentz wasn't done factoring in the scoring. His 27-yard reception reached the 2-yard line and Dunn scored from there. It was 38-0 and third quarter wasn't half over.
It also wasn't long before NDSU went to its bench.
The Bison spread the wealth. Dunn had 74 yards on 16 carries to lead the way with Anderson adding 50 yards on 12 attempts.
Ten different NDSU players caught a pass led by Darrius Shepherd's six catches for 94 yards.
"I was pleased with the way the guys played," Klieman said. "I was pleased with all three phases."