N. Dakota St. forces 5 turnovers, beats W. Illinois 34-7
MACOMB, Ill. (AP) The North Dakota State defense forced five turnovers, including Dan Marlette's 38-yard scoop-and-score, to help the Bison beat Western Illinois 34-7 on Saturday night.
Easton Stick was 11-of-20 passing for 123 yards, including a 22-yard TD pass to Darrius Shepherd, with no interceptions. Shepherd finished with five receptions for 67 yards and Lance Dunn 64 yards rushing and a scored on 15 carries for NDSU (6-0, 3-0).
The Leathernecks (2-4, 1-2 Missouri Valley) went three-and-out on its first three offensive possessions before an eight-play, 87-yard drive - including a 14-yard pass from Sean McGuire to Clint Ratkovich on third-and-12 - capped by Isaiah Lesure's 5-yard touchdown reception gave them a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter. On the ensuing NDSU possession, the Bison ran seven times while going 75 yards on eight plays as Dunn's 1-yard TD run made it 10-7 and Marlette's fumble return gave NDSU a 10-point lead at the half.
Each of Western Illinois' four possessions in the fourth quarter ended with an interception, including two by James Hendricks.
Lesure finished with 12 catches for 170 yards - both career highs.
The Bison, ranked No. 1 in the FCS, have won 12 consecutive games, including a 17-13 win over James Madison in the national championship game last season.
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