Luepke’s 55-yard TD highlights NDSU’s win over North Dakota

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Hunter Luepke barreled 55 yards for a touchdown less than a minute into the game and North Dakota State never trailed in a 34-13 defeat of North Dakota on Saturday in a clash of top-four teams in the FCS.

Luepke had missed all of North Dakota State’s previous spring games with a shoulder injury, but on the fourth play from scrimmage he took a handoff from Zeb Noland, cut around the right side of the Bison line, split two defenders, fought off a would-be tackler at the 10 and, losing his balance, dove the final three yards into the end zone for a career-long run.

Luepke, a 245-pound fullback, had a career day for fourth-ranked North Dakota State (5-1, 4-1 Missouri Valley Football Conference). He carried the ball 28 times for 190 yards, scoring three touchdowns — all career highs.

North Dakota State racked up 456 yards of offense, including 316 rushing, to North Dakota’s 304.

Tommy Schuster was 13-for-26 passing for 143 yards with a touchdown for second-ranked North Dakota (4-1, 4-1). Otis Weah gained 129 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown.

The Fighting Hawks picked off Noland late in the first quarter and scored on a long run of their own when Weah raced 74 yards for a TD, making the score 7-6 after the point-after kick was no good.

Luepke crashed across from the 8 on North Dakota State’s ensuing possession, and Christian Watson hauled in a 63-yard pass from Noland and the Bison led 21-6 at halftime

The two North Dakota schools have met 114 times — the tenth most-played rivalry in FCS football — but Saturday was their first clash as members of the MVFC.

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