FARGO, N.D. Special teams ace Shamen Washington gained 150 yards on returns and scored a touchdown on offense to help undefeated North Dakota State to a 52-17 victory over winless Southern Utah (0-8, 0-2 GWFC) on Saturday.
The 5-foot-6, 148-pound Washington, a junior from St. Petersburg, Fla., returned the opening kickoff 54 yards to set up Pete Blincoe's 8-yard touchdown run. NDSU never trailed.
"We played well in the first half, for the most part, but all game long we gave them the field position, and you can't do that against a good team," SUU offensive coordinator Jared Martin said. "We gave up a couple of returns and had an interception on a tipped ball that should have been a catch deep in their territory."
After falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter, the Thunderbirds rallied behind Cody Stone, quarterback in the second quarter. On his second play from scrimmage, Stone found Jeremy Edwards running a short crossing pattern for a 79-yard touchdown. It was the longest completion of the season for the Thunderbirds, bettering the 53-yard Wes Marshall to Nick Miller completion at Montana State.
The next time SUU got the ball, however, Stone wasn't as fortunate. Another pass intended for Edwards was intercepted at the SUU 15-yard line, setting up a 15-yard Pat Paschall run to stake the Bison to a 21-7 lead.
The Bison led 24-14 at half. A 6-yard touchdown run by Washington on the team's first possession of the second half made it 31-14. That score came after Washington returned a punt 35 yards to the Southern Utah 16.
Blincoe and running back Paschall scored two touchdowns apiece for NDSU (8-0, 2-0 Great West Football Conference). Paschall, in his first year with NDSU, went over 100 yards rushing for the first time this season.
Ryan Parsons scored on a 25-yard pass from Steve Walker to make it 45-17 with 2:05 left in the third quarter, ending the day for Walker and most of the Bison starters. NDSU led 52-17 after three quarters.
Nick Schommer led the Bison defense with two interceptions.
NDSU has won 12 straight games, the longest winning streak in NCAA Division I.