FARGO, N.D. – Lance Dunn scored three touchdowns in the first half and No. 1 North Dakota State turned a 28-3 halftime lead into a 49-3 victory over Cal Poly in the 2018 season opener for both football teams Saturday afternoon in the Fargodome.
Dunn ran 35, 1 and 12 yards in the opening 30 minutes of play and Bruce Anderson added a 10-yard scoring run as the Bison raced to a 25-point halftime lead and pulled away.
Cal Poly, which scored its only points in the first half on a career-long 50-yard field goal by Casey Sublette midway through the first quarter, was held out of the end zone for the second straight game. The Mustangs were shut out for the first time in over 20 years in last year's finale at Northern Colorado.
Mustang senior fullback Joe Protheroe, who missed the final nine games of the 2017 season due to an injury, scampered 57 yards on 14 carries to open his final campaign as a Mustang. Broc Mortensen added 22 yards on just three trips.
Senior quarterback Khaleel Jenkins, who played just the first five games a year ago due to an injury, added seven yards on 15 trips and completed two of five passes for 60 yards, both to J.J. Koski, before suffering another injury -- the same left knee but a different type of injury -- midway through the third quarter.
North Dakota State four-year starting quarterback Easton Stick left the game late in the third quarter after completing four of nine passes for 48 yards and directing the Bison running attack to six touchdowns and 325 yards in less than 45 minutes of play. He himself scored on a nine-yard run two minutes into the third period.
Stick's backup, Holden Hotchkiss, added a 12-yard scoring run in the fourth period and Anderson scored his second touchdown of the game on an 86-yard romp.
Anderson finished with 185 yards on just 11 carries, averaging 16.8 yards per carry.
Cal Poly's best chance for a touchdown came early in the final quarter as Matt Shotwell recovered a North Dakota State fumble at the Bison 7-yard line. Reid, however, was sacked twice and the Bison defense held.
North Dakota State produced advantages of 22-10 in first downs and 512-207 in total offense. Cal Poly won the time of possession battle, possessing the ball two more minutes than the Bison. The Mustangs rushed for 82 yards and passed for 125 while the Bison accumulated 458 yards on the ground and 54 through the air.
The first meeting between the two clubs since 2007 was delayed 23 minutes by a power failure in the first quarter. North Dakota State now leads the series against the Mustangs, 5-3.
Cal Poly will play its next two games inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium, hosting Weber State next Saturday at 6:05 p.m. and Ivy League member Brown on Friday, Sept. 14, at 7:05 p.m.
Photos courtesy of Tim Sanger, North Dakota State Athletics