Trey Lance & Co. put on a show in Minneapolis
There was no “it is hard to win football games.” That is now in Manhattan.
There was no “we just try to go 1-0 each week.” That is now in Los Angeles.
While the first North Dakota State football postgame press conference lacked the old saying of Chris Klieman and Easton Stick, there was still the same mentality that brought those two plenty of success.
“We had a lot of young guys become Bison today,” Bison head coach Matt Entz said.
It is hard to argue that as the new Bison team showed it’s first hand of the season in dominate form, pushing Butler out of Target Field with a 57-10 win. And it was the young guns that shined the brightest in Minneapolis.
In his first collegiate start, it was Trey Lance who shined the brightest. The Marshall, MN native electrified Target Field early and often.
On the season’s opening drive, both his arms and his legs got the crowd of 34,544 on their feet. Christian Watson hauled in a zipped pass from Lance and spun his defender for a 29-yard gain. Three plays later, Lance turned on the jets that won him the starting job for a 33-yard opening score.
“We started fast and I thought that was critical. We challenged them to be great and be so great that people couldn’t ignore them,” said Entz.
The young receiving duo of Watson and Phoenix Sproles fit in well with the rest of the Bison offense. Sproles showed just what he can do, diving in the endzone for the 47-yard touchdown.
“(Lance) threw the perfect ball,” said Sproles.
And in an offense that lost so much of its production from last year, a perfect ball is almost a bonus at this point. The Bison offense came in with so many question marks on how to replace that production, but they got production from everywhere.
Case and point, the Bison tight ends and fullback had as many yards as the Bulldogs had the first half, and three more touchdowns.
That group was also without the most experience player, Ben Ellefson. The senior tight end sat out with a foot injury.
Instead, it was Josh Babicz racking up catches and a pair of touchdowns and Noah Gindorff taking Ellefson’s role from last year of just catching touchdowns.
“Every time I looked up, they were scoring touchdowns,” said Entz with a sly smile. “There must have been a behind closed-doors bribe between (Lance and the tight ends).”
Lance finished the day 10-11 passing and accounted for 311 yards combined and as many touchdowns as there are home runs during a Twins game, a total of six to be the Missouri Valley’s Offensive Player of the Week.
Add in the true freshman running back Kobe Johnson averaging over 10 yards per carry late in the game after the rest of the run game tore up the Bulldogs, the Bison offense looks dangerous.
And this isn’t the dangerous grind that has been a staple of past Bison teams. No, but with how dominate the offensive line was, that could still be an option.
The Bison offense that showed up in Minneapolis was a powder keg ready to go off. Almost like an offense that is ready for everyone to post on Instagram. Fitting, since the Bison got to Target Field early so the kids could be kids.
“Do the things 18 to 22-year-olds do. Instagram, Snapchat all of that, get it out of your system, because when I come out, I don’t want to see it,” Entz said he told the team before the game. “They did a good job, they were ready,” he added.
It is safe to say that FCS teams have seen the highlights on social media, and they should be worried about the new kids that are taking up the offense in Fargo.