North Dakota State looked every bit the No. 1-ranked team in the country Saturday as it rolled to a lopsided win against Cal Poly in the season opener for both teams.
The defending national champion Bison — who raised their 14th national championship banner before kickoff — rushed for 458 yards and scored seven touchdowns on the ground en route to a 49-3 victory.
“North Dakota State is very, very good,” Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh told reporters after the game. “As good as advertised.”
Walsh said senior quarterback Khaleel Jenkins, who missed most of the 2017 season with a knee injury, suffered another serious injury to the same knee Saturday and he may be out for the remainder of the year.
Jenkins, Jake Jeffrey and Kyle Reid went a combined 6-of-11 for 125 yards through the air to lead Cal Poly offensively.
The Mustangs (0-1) were held to 82 yards rushing on 52 attempts, an average 1.6 yards per carry. Senior fullback Joe Protheroe ran for 57 yards on 14 carries for Cal Poly.
Casey Sublette made a career-long 50-yard field goal midway through the first quarter for the Mustangs’ only points of the game.
North Dakota State (1-0) jumped out to a 28-3 halftime lead on the strength of three rushing touchdowns by Lance Dunn. Bruce Anderson needed only 11 carries to rush for 185 yards (16.8 per attempt) and also scored twice for the Bison.
Linebacker Nik Navarro recorded a team-high eight tackles, including two for lost yardage, to lead the Mustangs defensively. North Dakota State’s Dan Marlette made a game-high nine tackles.
Cal Poly is scheduled to host No. 9 Weber State in its home opener at 6:05 p.m. next Saturday inside Alex G. Spanos Stadium. The Wildcats (0-1) lost their season opener against Pac-12 opponent Utah on Thursday night.
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