North Dakota State is scheduled to play its next college football season in the spring 2021, but of a high-profile FCS showcase game this fall will allow for Trey Lance, one of the top quarterback prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft, to get some work in with his Bison teammates before deciding between the spring season and the draft preparation process.
North Dakota State will play Central Arkansas on Oct. 3 in Fargo, North Dakota, the school announced Monday, adding 2023 and 2025 dates to the agreement between FCS foes.
🚨 Bison Football is Coming Back! 🚨— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) August 24, 2020
NDSU will host Central Arkansas on October 3 at the Fargodome. Ticket availability will be limited. Season ticket holders have until 4:00 next Friday, Sept. 4, to request tickets. Details: https://t.co/pOnxdLc7WX pic.twitter.com/TlCiv9nFGX
While the Southland Conference, like the Missouri Valley Conference, has postponed all conference competition for the fall, it is permitting its member schools "to participate in limited fall competition." For Central Arkansas, that includes a season opener against Austin Peay in Montgomery, Alabama, on Aug. 29, road games against UAB, Arkansas State and Louisiana, as well as home-and-home agreements with both Missouri State and Eastern Kentucky.
For North Dakota State, which previously announced that it would not play football in fall 2020, that means a single home game with limited ticket availability and a chance for the football world to tune in and see the three-time FCS national champions play with their star quarterback, Lance, under center. Lance has not declared his intentions for the spring or the 2021 NFL Draft, but experts have pegged him as a first-round pick very much in the debate with Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields for top quarterback in the class.
CBS Sports' NFL Draft analyst Josh Edwards is high on Lance but notes he's not the only worthy NDSU player to watch when this game kicks off.
Lance is rated the third-best quarterback prospect and No. 7 prospect overall in the CBS Sports Top 100 list, which was announced Monday. The Minnesota native is a dynamic blend of foot speed and arm strength. He does a great job of planting, driving the ball and throwing with touch when pressure allows. There are some concerns with passes batted down at the line of scrimmage as well as ball placement. The quarterback needs to work on going through his progressions and not always going to his first read, which often leads to some dangerous throws. When pressured, he does a great job of keeping his eyes downfield.
At the end of the day, there is one season of tape on the young player. Teams were looking forward to seeing him add to his portfolio this fall and witnessing his development but a showcase against Central Arkansas gives teams at least one more opportunity to see him live. There will be a lot of pressure for him to perform in that game.
In addition to Lance, left tackle Dillon Radunz is regarded as a potential first-round pick. On the CBS Sports Top 100 big board, Radunz was rated the No. 32 prospect overall. North Dakota State right tackle Cordell Volson and Central Arkansas cornerback Robert Rochell are a few other potential draft picks to know in that game.
Lance led North Dakota State to a national championship in 2019, extending the Bison's run of FCS titles to three straight and eight in nine seasons.