NDSU quarterback Trey Lance declares for NFL Draft

David Koier, Courier Staff

North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance will forgo his final seasons with the Bison and enter next year’s NFL Draft. Lance, a one-year starter at NDSU, is a projected first-round pick in the draft.

This past Saturday, Lance ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more in a 39-28 victory over Central Arkansas, the only game on the Bison’s fall schedule. In his first season as a starter at NDSU, Lance set the NCAA all-division record for passing attempts in a season without an interception with 287. He led the Bison to an undefeated season with 2,786 passing yards and 28 touchdowns while recording 1,100 yards and 14 more touchdowns on the ground.

He helped lead North Dakota State to the first 16-0 season in college football since 1894 and an FCS national championship with a 28-20 victory against James Madison. Lance was named most outstanding player for that game after tossing only 72 yards but leading the team in rushing with 166 yards and a 44-yard rushing touchdown.

After the conclusion of the 2019 season, Lance was awarded the Walter Payton Award as the top offensive player in the FCS and the Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman, becoming the first player to earn both honors. According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, Lance is projected as the third-best quarterback available in next year’s draft behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields. 

The Missouri Valley Football Conference released its conference-only schedule on Sept. 24, and for the first time since 2012, the North Dakota State Bison and Western Illinois Leathernecks will not face off in the regular season. Lance led the Bison in defeating the Leathernecks last season in Fargo 57-21. Western Illinois still looks to have a tough road ahead of them, opening the season in Vermillion on Feb. 19 against the South Dakota Coyotes. The following three matchups for the Leathernecks pin them against three teams who ended last season in the Top 25 of the FCS coaches poll: at Illinois State (March 6), vs Northern Iowa (March 13) and at South Dakota State (March 20).