6. Trey Lance and Carson Wentz have both proven that they can perform at an elite level in big moments.
One of the intangibles you’ll see in both Lance and Wentz is that they both have a clutch gene. They have that championship DNA. Carson went 20-3 as a starter and was with the team for five straight national championships. Lance has begun his career with a 16-0 mark and has been on two national championship-winning teams.
In the Bison’s four playoff games this past year, Lance completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 599 yards and five touchdowns while running 63 times for 359 yards and four touchdowns. Most of those games were blowout wins, but the national championship versus James Madison ended up being pretty close.
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James Madison scored a touchdown on their opening drive. Lance and company answered by leading three straight drives that ended in trips to the endzone. That put the Bison up 21-10 at halftime. At the start of the fourth quarter, James Madison was knocking on the door. They had NDSU facing a 3rd and 23 with their lead down to 21-13. Lance scrambled and broke two tackles for a 44-yard touchdown that ended up being the game-winner in a 28-20 victory. He finished that game with 166 rushing yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.
We know how clutch Wentz was in the four-game playoff run in 2019 with the Eagles but let’s take a look back at his four-game playoff run in 2014. He completed 67.5 percent of his passes for 824 yards, six touchdowns, and one interception to go along with 46 carries for 211 yards and three touchdowns. Not too dissimilar from Lance.
In the second round versus rival South Dakota State that year, Wentz got the ball at his own 24-yard line with 3:12 left on the clock and the Bison losing 24-20. Wentz led an eight-play, 76-yard drive and capped it off with a 12-yard touchdown pass with 54 seconds left which put the Bison ahead for good.
Just a few weeks later, Wentz led a game-winning drive in the national championship. With just 1:38 remaining on the clock, Wentz threw a 32-yard dot to start the drive followed by a 13-yard strike to get them to the opposing 38-yard line. A few plays later, they faced a 3rd and 10 and Carson threw another bullet for 33 yards and then ran in a five-yard touchdown with 37 seconds left that led NDSU to a 29-27 win.
Wentz also got hurt midseason (yes, he even got hurt back then) in 2015 but returned for his final collegiate game and led a 37-10 victory over number one ranked Jacksonville State with 294 total yards and three touchdowns. Wentz’s big moments were a little more impressive but both of them shine brightest when it matters the most.