Top-ranked Bison cruise to 26th straight win

North Dakota State's second-longest winning streak in FCS history continues to look a lot like its longest winning streak in FCS history.

The top-ranked Bison were punishing on both sides of the ball as they throttled No. 10 Illinois State 37-3 Saturday in Normal, Illinois -- improving to 5-0 this season with their 26th straight win since 2017.

NDSU has tied James Madison's 2016-17 squads for the second-longest FCS streak, and it ended the Dukes' run in the 2017 national championship game. The Bison's 33-game streak from 2012-14 is the record -- a total they would reach again by going unbeaten in their 12-game regular season.

"It's just the culture that we have," senior defensive end Derrek Tuszka said. "We don't get hung up on past wins and losses. We learn from them and move forward."

In the Missouri Valley Football Conference opener for both teams, first-year coach Matt Entz's squad outgained Illinois State (3-2) 482-200 and won for the eighth straight time in the series. Redshirt freshman Trey Lance completed 12 of 15 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns and Ty Brooks led a 293-yard ground assault with 106 yards and a score, while the defense had four first-half sacks.

The two-time defending FCS champion Bison scored on their first four possessions to cruise into halftime with a 23-3 lead. Tight end Noah Gindorff opened with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Lance, making it four receptions and four touchdowns for the redshirt sophomore this season. Lance, who has passed for 12 touchdowns without an interception, added two more scoring passes in the second half, a 42-yarder to Christian Watson and a 7-yarder to Ben Ellefson.

NDSU had a goal-line stance from the 1 in the third quarter, safety James Hendrick broke up four passes, linebacker Jackson Hankey finished with 2½ tackles for loss and Tuszka had two sacks. Illinois State All-America running back James Robinson carried the ball 20 times for 94 yards.