FCS powerhouse North Dakota State emerged victorious in it’s one and only game of the 2020 fall football season over the Central Arkansas Bears, 39-28, on Saturday. In what some have billed as a “showcase game” for the Bison’s Trey Lance, a 6-foot-4, 226-pound superstar dual-threat quarterback, the game was attended by 26 NFL scouts from 20 franchises.
Lance, a redshirt sophomore whom many expect to be a high first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft if he declares, out-dueled the Bears by leading three touchdown drives in the final quarter to pull away. It was a gritty performance from Lance, who finished with 15 completions on 30 attempts for 149 yards, two passing touchdowns and his first career interception. He also carried the ball 15 times for 143 yards and two scores.
Lance potentially ended his Bison career undefeated. In 2019, his first as a starter, he led the team to a 16-0 record and the FCS national championship. Along the way, he tossed 28 touchdowns and no interceptions and ran for another 14 touchdowns and 1,100 yards.
Still, Lance is quick to deflect the praise for his rapid rise to stardom. He insists Saturday’s game was not about himself.
“I don’t think it’s about me,” Lance told Yahoo Sports last week. “I struggle with everyone calling this a showcase game. That was never the intention of our coaching staff. That’s not what they’re about, and not what I’m about.”
Don't stand on the tracks when Trey's coming through. pic.twitter.com/BOvHJC94E5
— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) October 3, 2020
Lance grew up in the small town of Marshall, Minn., with dreams of playing football like his father, Carlton Lance, a former Canadian Football League defensive back. Only, Trey wanted more than ever to be a quarterback. He never received any offers from Big Ten schools but was swayed by the clear future as a quarterback laid out for him by the NDSU football program.
Lance arrived in Fargo in 2018 as a redshirt to watch and learn from the Bison’s newest star quarterback, Easton Stick.
“I can’t imagine where I’d be without being able to spend the time with [Stick] that year,” Lance said. “I’m super thankful he took the time to answer my questions. He cared so much about the program and me.”
Stick left big shoes to fill as the all-time winningest quarterback in FCS history. Lance has done that and more.
Every season God takes us through has a purpose!
— Trey Lance (@treylance09) May 8, 2020
“Football is not who I am, it’s what I do,” Lance told Yahoo Sports. “I’m obviously going to put everything possible into it because that’s what I love to do. But at the end of the day, I think God put that in my plan to use it as my platform.”
Lance, who calls himself a “Child of God” in his social media bios, hosted Bible studies on Zoom and participated in a march against the killing of unarmed Black people during the long period of down time amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He enjoys going to children’s hospitals and reading at local schools, and in high school, Lance was a leader in his local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“[Lance’s] identity is not being a football player,” Southwest Minn. FCA staff member Robin Knudson told Yahoo. “It comes from something greater. That helps him stay grounded.”
Wherever Lance finds himself in the months ahead, he knows God will still be right there with him, guiding him along.
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