TOWSON, Md. — North Dakota State scored touchdowns on its first three drives Saturday night at Johnny Unitas Stadium, a scoring flurry that was more than enough for the team's lockdown defense.
That strong start fueled NDSU to a 35-7 victory against the Towson (Md.) Tigers in nonconference NCAA Division I FCS play before 9,109 fans. The Bison passed their first road test this season, winning all three games on their nonconference schedule.
The Bison also defeated the Tigers 35-7 when the two teams played for the FCS national title game in Frisco, Texas, to end the 2013 season.
NDSU (3-0) has a bye week next weekend before traveling to the University of North Dakota on Oct. 2 to start the Missouri Valley Football Conference slate.
NDSU pushed its lead to four TDs to start the second half. Running back TaMerik Williams scored on a 3-yard run to give the Bison a 28-0 lead with 11 minutes, 2 seconds to play in the third quarter. That capped a 73-yard drive that took seven plays. Williams had a 35-yard run earlier in the drive.
Running back Jalen Bussey scored on a 12-yard run that gave the Bison a 35-0 lead with 11:35 to play in the fourth quarter. That capped a 58-yard drive that lasted six plays. The Bison rushed for 328 yards on 46 attempts, averaging 7.1 yards per carry.
Towson didn't find the end zone until late in the fourth quarter. Running back Jerry Howard Jr. scored on a 1-yard TD run to cut the Bison lead to 35-7 with 2:20 remaining.
The Bison dominated the first half, outgaining Towson 334 to 50 yards through the first 30 minutes. NDSU averaged 9.6 yards per play in the first two quarters while limiting the Tigers to 2.4 yards per play.
Christian Watson got the offense rolling with a 67-yard touchdown catch from Quincy Patterson to give NDSU a 6-0 lead with 8:38 to play in the first quarter. That capped a four-play, 86-yard drive.
The Bison built a 13-0 lead after fullback Hunter Luepke scored on a 1-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter to cap an 82-yard march that lasted 12 plays.
Towson tried to climb back into the game after Kobe Young returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards to the Bison 12-yard line. NDSU, however, stuffed the Tigers on a fourth-and-2 play from the 4 to turn the ball over on downs.
On the next play, Dominic Gonnella ripped off a 43-yard run that sparked a 96-yard drive that took seven plays. Patterson completed a 31-yard pass to Kobe Johnson that moved the ball to the Towson 3. One play later, Patterson scored on a 3-yard run for a 19-0 lead with 9:07 to play in the second quarter.
The Bison added a safety to take a 21-0 lead with 2:15 to play in the half. NDSU defensive end Brayden Thomas pressured Towson quarterback Chris Ferguson in the end zone before Ferguson threw the ball away. Ferguson was called for intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in the safety.
The Bison had a chance to add to their lead late in the first half, but kicker Jake Reinholz missed a 48-yard attempt with 11 seconds to play until halftime.