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Redshirt frosh Lance named North Dakota State's starting quarterback

CRAIG HALEY (STATS FCS Senior Editor=)

(STATS) - North Dakota State's new starting quarterback, Trey Lance, is replacing the winningest signal caller in FCS history, including in the last two national championship games.

Yeah, no pressure.

On Monday, first-year coach Matt Entz announced Lance as the season-opening quarterback when the Bison face Butler Aug. 31 at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Lance, a 6-foot-3, 221-pound redshirt freshman, had been competing for the starting job with Iowa State junior transfer Zeb Noland and sophomore Noah Sanders. He takes over for Easton Stick, the Los Angeles Chargers rookie who led 49 wins in his North Dakota State career.

"We can't lose sight of the fact that he's only a freshman, too, and there's going to be some growing pains with him and all. I understand that," quarterbacks coach Randy Hedberg said on Bison 1660 AM in Fargo. "It's hard for me to fathom at times because he does have enormous talent. But he's got some learning to do. He'll gain that as we go through the season and the games, and he'll get better and better and he'll learn from it."

Lance dressed for all 15 games last season, but played in only two to maintain his four seasons of NCAA eligibility. He completed one pass for 12 yards and rushed eight times for 82 yards, including two touchdowns.

After learning behind Stick, the native of Marshall, Minnesota, would embrace similar success as a redshirt freshman. Stick went 8-0 in 2015, including three playoff wins before Carson Wentz returned from injury to start the team's national championship win.

North Dakota State has won seven of the last eight FCS titles.