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Run to remember: Paschall breaks long-standing record in NDSU football victory

North Dakota State's Pat Paschall breaks free on his record-setting 91-yard touchdown run against Wagner College on Saturday at the Fargodome. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO -- The grainy black and white photo of Cy Peschel in the North Dakota State record book shows the running back with a leather helmet and a tough-guy look. That was in 1928.

It took until the days of video boards, indoor stadiums and Internet cell phones, but his record of longest touchdown run from scrimmage was finally broken Saturday night by Pat Paschall.

They barely have to change any of the letters in the last name.

Paschall's 91-yard touchdown run against Wagner College (N.Y.) has the makings of a YouTube classic and was the rage of NDSU's 59-28 victory before 18,128 fans.

It was NDSU's first victory after opening with two defeats on the road.

Paschall showed the Fargodome why he was the leading rusher in Division I Football Championship Subdivision heading into this weekend. He'll probably stay there after 167 yards on 10 carries, with the 91-yarder breaking the mark of 90 yards by Peschell set against South Dakota State.

"I've seen some great tailbacks through the years," said NDSU head coach Craig Bohl, "and that was a dog-gone good run."

Paschall found a nice hole over the right side and continued a sprint up the right sideline. He got by a couple of defenders, received a good block from receiver Warren Holloway but Wagner linebacker Keith Davis still had the angle on Paschall around the NDSU 30.

In a move that's sure to be replayed many times, Paschall leaped a diving Parker, spun 360 degrees upon landing and went the rest of the way untouched.

"I saw the guy going low, so I spun and kept my body going toward the end zone," he said.

It was the second big play in a matter of minutes for Paschall, who personally broke the game open.

One drive earlier, after Wagner tied it at 14-14 with 5:35 remaining in the half, a scrambling Nick Mertens hit Paschall on a medium-sized pass in the middle of the field. Paschall did the rest turning it into a 46-yard pass play to the Wagner 12.

"We were hanging in there," said Wagner head coach Walt Hameline.

Running back D.J. McNorton broke the tie on the next play with a touchdown run.

"I felt like at that time in the game we had to come back and respond," Paschall said.

The Bison finished off their late scoring spree in the last minute. Linebacker Brandon Jemison recovered a Nick Doscher fumble at the 30 with 1:21 left. Mertens scored four plays later and with 29 seconds remaining and it was 35-14.

The half, however, belonged to Paschall. He had 163 yards in just eight carries, already surpassing his FCS-leading 161-yard average coming into the game. He sat out most of the second half.

"We're fairly explosive on offense," Bohl said. "We have some weapons."

Mertens finished 12 of 21 passing for 182 yards and one touchdown. Holloway was his favorite target with four receptions.

But the number that mattered the most on this night was 91 yards. The 1928 mark survived a lot of years.

"That makes you feel good," Paschall said.