North Dakota tops W. Illinois 38-21 for 4-0 start to season


MACOMB, Ill. — Tommy Schuster passed for 328 yards with three touchdowns, two to Adam Zavalney, and third-ranked North Dakota defeated Western Illinois 38-21 on Saturday.

The win pushed North Dakota to its first 4-0 start since 2008, its first year in Division I.

After losing their first drive to a fumble, the Fighting Hawks put together sustained drives of 82 and 92 yards to build a 14-0 lead by early in the second quarter. Luke Skokna scored on a run from the 10 to put North Dakota on the board and Schuster found Zavalney from the 4 for a 14-0 lead.

Western Illinois answered when Iosefa Pua’auli scored on a 2-yard run but Zavalney and Schuster teamed up again on a 10-yard pass as North Dakota went into halftime with a 21-7 lead.

North Dakota built the lead to 31-7 before Western Illinois scored twice in the last 17 minutes.

Pua’auli added a second touchdown run and Connor Sampson, who passed for 336 yards, connected with Dallas Daniels for a 14-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

North Dakota picked up 214 yards rushing to 26 for the Leathernecks but passing yards were nearly even, 328-336.

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