- Associated Press - Saturday, October 1, 2016

FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Easton Stick put on a show for Carson Wentz on Saturday, throwing for 256 yards and three touchdowns to lead North Dakota State to a 31-10 win over Illinois State.

With the former Bison and current Philadelphia Eagles quarterback in attendance, Stick improved to 12-0 as the Bison starter with an efficient 13-of-18 performance against the Redbirds.

“He didn’t say much, but it was good to see him,” Stick said of the former Bison quarterback. “Every week there are two or three plays you think if we can get the look we can get them and we were fortunate to get those looks today.”

The Bison (4-0, 1-0 Missouri Valley Football Conference) have beaten the Redbirds (2-3, 0-2) five straight times. Illinois State lost its third straight game for the first time in the eight-year career of head coach Brock Spack.

“Easton was really sharp, making a lot of big plays in the passing game and I thought our defense played exceptionally well in the second half,” Bison coach Chris Klieman said.

Stick threw TD passes of 65 yards to RJ Urzendowski, 38 yards to Lance Dunn and 35 yards to Nate Jenson.

Illinois State took a 3-0 lead on Sean Slattery’s 23-yard field goal following a 58-yard drive with 8:12 left in the first quarter.

The Bison put together a 78-yard drive capped by Darrius Shepherd’s 31-yard reverse run for a TD with 1:14 left in the quarter.

The Redbirds went back on top with 13:06 left in the half after a wide-open Anthony Fowler caught an 18-yard pass from Jake Kolbe in the end zone for a 10-7 lead. The 81-yard scoring drive took just eight plays.

But it was all North Dakota State from there, and the comeback began just 18 seconds later when Stick lofted a long TD pass to Urzendowski down the left sideline, making it 14-10.

Illinois State’s bid to retake the lead ended with Kolbe was hit and fumbled inside the NDSU 10 and the Bison recovered.

That led to a four-play, 92-yard TD drive for the Bison. Stick hit running back Chase Morlock for 52 yards, then found Dunn from 38 yards for a 21-10 lead with 8:43 left in the half.

Stick connected with Jenson with 27 seconds left in the half to give North Dakota State a 28-10 lead at the break.

King Frazier led NDSU in rushing with 76 yards on 20 attempts. The Bison had a 13-minute advantage in time of possession.

Kolbe and Tristan Smith were a combined 24-of-38 for 303 yards passing for Illinois State, but the Redbirds’ offense was one-dimensional as the Bison defense held them to just 37 yards on the ground.

Kolbe was sacked six times.

Fowler caught six passes for 119 yards.

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