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Bison notebook: real freshman QB Payton makes Dome Lance debut

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True Omaha freshman quarterback Neb. Saw his first game of action for the Bison and capitalized on it by sprinting for a 37-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of the NDSU’s 64-0 win.

“It sounded a lot like his flagship movie,” Bison head coach Matt Entz said.

Payton played a streak, running three times for 48 yards. He relieved second pillar Cam Miller with 11:46 to go.

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Payton, who is 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, was a highly touted rookie from Omaha Westside.

He played the entire fourth quarter, which consisted of a single series, but did not throw a pass. Miller played the third quarter completing his only pass, a 23-yard throw that Jalen Bussey mistook for a touchdown.

Payton’s landing scorecard was reminiscent of the early days of former Bison quarterback Trey Lance. Lance, as a true freshman in 2018, had a long TD against North Alabama at the Fargodome.

It is likely that Payton will play four games or less, preserving four full years of eligibility under NCAA rules.

Oddly enough, the Beacons lost by 64 points but had a major advantage in possession, controlling the ball for 35:03 versus 24:57 for the NDSU. The reason, of course, was the penchant for scoring at long distances.

Four touchdown discs were four games or less.

In another almost oddity, Bison punt returner Jayden Price was penalized for returning one for a touchdown in his first two games. He opened the scoring against Valparaiso with a punt return of 45 yards for a touchdown.

Price let a short punt bounce in front of him, but when no beacons converged on the ball, he dived, retrieved it and went the distance without touching.

“I think he thought everyone was running away,” Entz said, referring to the NDSU return team. “It took a perfect rebound, he had a head start and it was a big explosive game. I was frustrated with the celebration there, we have to clean that up.”

NDSU was flagged 15 meters away for unsportsmanlike conduct during the celebration.

Valparaiso did not go without a big game in punt formation. The Beacons managed to convert a scythe in the second quarter when Ben Niesner ran 17 yards to the Bison’s 47-yard line. Niesner finished second at the top of his team.

Starting linebacker James Kaczor did not play for the Bison. He was detained due to a leg injury suffered in the spring. Entz said Kaczor could have played if necessary. Entz said there were no other injuries he was aware of. … 64 points is the most points for NDSU in a game since the 2018 regular season finals against Southern Illinois when the Bison scored 65. … Valparaiso missed some players for the game. Starting quarterback Teryn Berry, substitute running back Nick Orekoya, substitute receiver / returner Chuck Maxwell and substitute linebacker Jaxon Peifer have all been ruled out. … NDSU’s next home game is almost a month away. The bison head to Towson (Md.) Next week before a goodbye. They play in North Dakota in the opening game of the Missouri Valley Football Conference on Oct. 2 before hosting northern Iowa on Oct. 9 for the reunion. … The first responders in the FM area led the Bison out of the locker room in the traditional “lights out” intro. … Next week’s Valparaiso opponent, St. Thomas of St. Paul, won their first-ever Division I game, beating Division II Michigan Tech 9-3. The Tommies are members of the Pioneer League, the Valpo conference.

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