Bison Defense Holds Illinois State Scoreless in First Half En Route to Victory
North Dakota State beats Illinois State 28-14 on Saturday
FARGO, N.D. — (NDSU Athletics) Lance Dunn rushed for three touchdowns and No. 1-ranked North Dakota State remained unbeaten with a 28-14 victory over seventh-ranked Illinois State in the Missouri Valley Football Conference on Saturday, Oct. 20.
Darrius Shepherd caught six passes for a career-high 126 yards and added two punt returns totaling 103 yards for North Dakota State, which improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the conference. Illinois State dropped to 5-2 overall and 2-2 in the league.
North Dakota State put up 279 yards of offense in the first half against Illinois State’s league-leading defense, which came in allowing just 275 yards per game. NDSU converted 10 of 16 third downs and outgained the Redbirds 385-364.
The Bison went ahead 28-0 on their first possession of the third quarter. Illinois State went three-and-out, Shepherd returned the ensuing punt 69 yards to the ISU 17, and Dunn scored three plays later from the 2.
Dunn scored on a 4-yard run in the first quarter and Dallas Freeman’s 9-yard TD run made it 14-0 early in the second quarter.
Illinois State threatened to make it a one-score game, but Robbie Grimsley’s interception near the goal line ended a 12-play, 68-yard drive. The Bison marched 95 yards in 12 plays capped by Dunn’s 1-yard TD to go ahead 21-0 before halftime.
The Redbirds put together a 99-yard scoring drive capped by a James Robinson 11-yard TD run late in the third quarter, and Spencer Schnell caught a 21-yard TD pass from Brady Davis in the fourth quarter.
Robinson rushed 20 times for 128 yards, the most by an NDSU opponent this year and just the second to crack the 100-yard rushing mark this season.
Davis went 12 of 24 passing for 206 yards but was intercepted twice, the second time by Jalen Allison with 3:11 left in the game. NDSU got a pair of first downs and ran out the clock.
Stick was 13 of 22 passing for 207 yards and led the Bison ground attack with 10 carries for 70 yards. Dunn finished with 61 yards on a team-high 19 carries with fellow senior Bruce Anderson out of the game with an injury.
North Dakota State is scheduled to play South Dakota at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the DakotaDome in Vermillion.