FARGO — North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance is getting around on crutches these days, the result of a procedure stemming from an old injury suffered in high school.
Head coach Matt Entz did not want to get into specifics of the medical issue, but did call it a “lower body injury.” He said it’s not certain if Lance, from Marshall, Minn., will participate in spring football.
“It’s a good time to take advantage of some down time,” Entz said. “It will allow him to rest and get him healthy. We’ll follow doctors orders on the recovery process.”
Lance is coming off the most impressive freshman season in Division I FCS history. He led the Bison to a 16-0 season and an eighth national championship in nine years, all the while winning the Walter Payton Award that goes to the best offensive player in the subdivision.
He was also honored with the Jerry Rice Award, which goes to the best freshman in the FCS. Lance completed 192 of 287 passes for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and no interceptions. He led the team in rushing with 1,100 yards on 169 carries.
The workload, Entz said, was another reason for Lance to address his injury.
“We felt after a long season, 16 games and over 1,000 reps,” he said. “We thought this is a good opportunity to take care of it.”
Asked if he was concerned if the medical issue will affect Lance moving forward, Entz said that will not be the case.
“It’s something a number of players have had to go through, we have three or four playing right now who have had it,” he said. “It’s not going to affect his ability to play the quarterback position at all. This will make life easier for Trey.”
Lance played in two games as a true freshman in 2018 scoring two touchdowns and completing his only pass, but was able to preserve his redshirt status because he did not play in more than four games. He went through the rigorous process of winning the No. 1 job in spring fall last year and fall camp last August.
If Lance doesn’t participate in spring drills -- and there was a good possibility he would have been very limited anyway -- that means senior backup Zeb Noland will operate the No. 1 offense.
Junior Noah Sanders will be entering his fourth year in the program. Logan Graetz and Jayden Johannsen were true freshmen last fall.