FARGO — North Dakota State sophomore quarterback Trey Lance was featured on ESPN’s "College GameDay" on Saturday morning hours before the Bison were set to take the field for their first and only time this fall football season.
ESPN veteran feature reporter Tom Rinaldi told Lance’s story in a four-plus minute piece, which included Lance’s disappointment with the University of Minnesota not recruiting him as a quarterback out of Marshall (Minn.) High School.
“If you would have asked my junior year (of high school), I would have thought I was going to play quarterback at the University of Minnesota,” Lance said during the segment.
“When Trey learned that he was not being recruited as the quarterback for the University of Minnesota, that stung,” said Angie Lance, Trey’s mom.
The No. 1-ranked Bison rallied for a 39-28 victory against No. 11-ranked Central Arkansas in a Division I FCS showdown at Gate City Bank Field at the Fargodome. After the game, Lance said he's hasn't decided on his NFL future, echoing what he voiced earlier in the day in the ESPN segment.
Trey Lance told Rinaldi most FBS programs wanted him to play wide receiver, linebacker or safety.
“It didn’t matter what they saw on film, they were not going to recruit Trey Lance as a quarterback at these huge schools,” Angie Lance said. “No chance.”
Trey Lance excelled in his first season as the starter last fall, leading the Bison to a 16-0 record and the program’s third consecutive Division I FCS national championship. The 6-foot-4, 226-pound Lance completed 192 of 287 passes for 2,786 yards and 28 touchdowns with no interceptions. He also rushed for 1,100 yards and 15 TDs.
“I don’t know if it could have got any better,” Bison head coach Matt Entz said of Lance's freshman season.
Trey Lance earned the Walter Payton Award, which is given to the top offensive player in the FCS, marking the first time a freshman has won the award. He was also named the game’s most valuable player in NDSU’s 28-20 victory against James Madison last January in the FCS national title game. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 72 yards and rushed for 166 yards and a touchdown. His 44-yard TD run to start the fourth quarter gave the Bison a 28-13 lead.
“I don’t think Trey has anything to prove to anybody, his resume has already been set,” Bison quarterbacks coach Randy Hedberg said.
Trey Lance might've played his final game with the Bison on Saturday with his name being mentioned among the top quarterback prospects for the 2021 NFL Draft. ESPN draft expert Todd McShay said during College GameDay that Lance has the potential to be a top-5 pick for the upcoming draft.
Trey Lance can wait as late at the middle of January to make that decision.
“There’s always going to be people that doubt me,” he said. “I haven’t made a decision yet on what I’m going to do for this spring season or early next fall. I’m a thousand percent focused on winning this game right now.”
Radunz gets Senior Bowl invite
NDSU offensive tackle Dillon Radunz had one more college football game added to his schedule Saturday. Radunz learned after the game he had received an invitation to the Senior Bowl, which is scheduled for Jan. 20 in Mobile, Ala.
The Senior Bowl is a college all-star game for the top NFL Draft prospects who have completed their college eligibility. Radunz had announced before Saturday's game he was going to play NDSU's lone game in the fall and not take part in the spring football schedule.
"I'm exited that I that I get to introduce you guys to a 2021 Senior Bowl participant; Dillon Radunz," Entz said in the locker room after the Central Arkansas game in a video posted on the NDSU football Twitter account.
After the announcement, the 6-foot-6, 299-pound Radunz was cheered by his teammates.
"Super excited for him," Lance said during his postgame media interview.
Bears CB Rochell flashes his NFL potential
Central Arkansas cornerback Robert Rochell had a strong game against the Bison, finishing with five total tackles and two pass breakups. Rochell and the Bears defense forced Lance to throw the first interception on his Bison career that includes 17 starts.
“Robert Rochell came out and played like an NFL corner like we knew he would," Central Arkansas head coach Nathan Brown said. “We used it as a showcase game for him as well.”
There were 25 professional scouts in attendance at Saturday's game, according to NDSU sports information.
Bears defensive back Nick Nakawaasah intercepted Lance during the third quarter. Lance completed 15 of 30 passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns. He had better success throwing in the second half, completing 9 of 14 passes for 102 yards.
“I just felt their depth wore us down just a little bit, especially their offense on our defense," Brown said.