UND defense's next challenge is Bison quarterback Trey Lance
GRAND FORKS — The last time the University of North Dakota played North Dakota State, now-Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz threw for 262 yards and four touchdowns in the 2015 matchup, a 34-9 Bison victory.
Any thoughts the Fighting Hawks would have it easier with a new NDSU quarterback in the 2019 rematch were pretty much silenced in the Bison's 57-10 win over Butler last Saturday in Minneapolis.
Freshman Trey Lance busted on the scene by going 10-for-11 for 185 yards and four touchdowns and running five times for 116 yards and two touchdowns.
UND's defense will lock up with Lance on Saturday, Aug. 7, at 2:30 p.m. in the Fargodome.
"He looks like a really gifted athlete and can run well for how big he is," UND linebacker Jade Lawrence said. "It's going to be a challenge to stop him, and it'll be a focal point of our defense this week."
In UND's 47-7 win over Drake in Week 1, the Fighting Hawks' defense registered one of its best statistical performances of the Division I era.
By giving up just 129 yards of offense to the Bulldogs, UND enters the weekend as the No. 2 total defense in all of the FCS.
The Fighting Hawks also gave up 55 passing yards, which ranks No. 3 in the FCS. The only programs to give up fewer passing yards in Week 1 were Hampton and Towson. Hampton played a Division II program and Towson played the triple-option offense of Citadel.
Lance, a 6-foot-3, 221-pound Marshall, Minn., native, redshirted in 2018. He dressed for all 15 games but played in just two games. He scored two rushing touchdowns — one a 44-yard run against North Alabama and another a 23-yard score at South Dakota.
In high school, Lance threw for 1,386 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior while running for 641 yards and 10 touchdowns.
"He's very athletic and anytime you're athletic, you've got to be able to defend the quarterback run game," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "When he drops back to pass and the play breaks down, he can make plays. He presents challenges to a defense, no question."
Lance's performance earned Missouri Valley Football Conference Player of the Week honors last week.
Although Lance showed his passing threat against Butler in NDSU's season opener, the Bison have a reputation for dominating in the run game.
"Obviously, their team likes to run the ball and we are a team that predicates itself on stopping the run," Lawrence said. "It'll be interesting to see it play out. Every day that goes by we're more prepared for it. They're a good team and have a really good program. It's not going to be an easy task, but I think we're all up to it as a defense."
UND at NDSU
When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday
TV/Radio: KVLY (NBC), 96.1 FM
Records: UND 1-0; NDSU 1-0
Last meeting: NDSU won 34-9 in 2015