Something To Build On

We’ll be the first to admit after Chad Spann’s first play, 80 yard TD run to start the game, we had the “here we go again” feeling.

Good thing the players on the field didn’t.

This young Fighting Sioux Football Team rallied and overcame many early obstacles last night in Dekalb, IL to lose a heartbreaker to NIU, 23-17. 

  • As much criticism as QB Jake Landry has received already this year, and some of it rightfully so, he put the ball where it needed to be in closing seconds to give UND a shot at the win from the 4 yard line with a second or two to go. 
  • While having a fantastic breakout game, freshman WR Greg Hardin couldn’t come up with the catch inside the 5 yard line on the second to last play of the game.  The kid played a hell of game with 171 yards and a huge 85 yard TD that jumpstarted the Sioux offense.  Looking forward to watching him progress through the next 4 years.
  • Gutsy call by Coach Mussman to go for it on the goal line after the Landry QB sneak was overturned.  The Sioux needed that shot in the arm but came up 3 inches short on the Josh Murray leap attempt.  You have to assume your team can get 1 yard and we assume he would do it again if he had the chance.
  • UND came up 0-3 on reviews in the game.  All three seemed to be the right call.
  • Freshman kicker Zeb Miller kicked a 40 yarder for his first collegiate field goal.  Good to get the first one out of the way with it also being a crucial, clutch FG that pulled the Sioux within 6.
  • While Chris Anderson continues to struggle catching the ball at WR, he came up with a huge play on special teams with a blocked punt.
  • NIU was also running the Pistol in this game.  They switched back and forth from a Pistol set to a Spread Shotgun set. 
  • Story of the game defensively:  NIU 2 plays – 119 yards – 14 points  (2 big TD runs)
  • Rest of the game:  NIU 69 plays – 391 yards – 9 points
  • The UND defense gave up 360 yards of offense by halftime, but clamped down in the second half to hold NIU to 150 yards and gave the offense the ball back when they needed to. 
  • Defensively, Ross Cochran and Dan Hendrickson played outstanding games and Dominique Hawkins came up with an interception return for a TD.  Hendrickson has been a pleasant surprise thus far.
  • Initially, we were surprised and by how the UND defensive line got pushed back in the running game by NIU’s offensive line considering that is the strength of our defense.  However, it was nice to see them clamp down and do the job when they needed to.  NIU gave up trying to run with Chad Spann in the 2nd half, going to more a running game that featured QB Harnish.
  • The secondary made the biggest improvement from week 1 to week 2 although they were facing a totally different offense with a lesser quarterback.  NIU had some decent receivers but we could notice the corners getting more confident as the game went on.  They started pressing NIU’s receivers making them convert their routes into fades instead of 5 yard outs.  The result:  incomplete passes. 
  • While the offense cut down on the turnovers this week (2) , they still lost the turnover battle 2 to 1.  The defense needs to start winning those turnover battles.
  • It’s safe to say that everyone realistically thought we would be 0-2 at this point.  Probably thought we’d have better results at Idaho and maybe less results at Northern Illinois. 
  • A couple of other things to consider.  The offense that UND is running is different this year and everyone is still in learning mode, coaches included.  The defense is returning to its roots of the 3-4 defense after getting away from it over the last couple of years.  The coaches on both sides of the ball are also trying to fit the pieces together with personnel and figure out who belongs where and when.  We always comment on how young the team is and how there will be growing pains with the players.  We also believe this to be the case with the coaching staff on both sides of the ball.  When you start out with two FBS bowl teams, it makes the process even harder.
  • One thing is for sure.  This team improved dramatically from game 1 to game 2 and it could even be said it improved more from the 1st half to the 2nd half of the Northern Illinois game.  Hopefully, the team rides the confidence and momentum from that into the rest of the season.  There’s no reason this team shouldn’t be 2-2 going into the South Dakota game at Vermillion on October 2nd.
  • The FCS season is just now getting underway.  We hope to see a lot of support at the Alerus this fall.

7 Responses

  1. Ole in MSP

    Also, how much does it hurt to have one of your key defensive coaches sitting back in GF with a Staph infection. Has to have some impact on the defense early in the season on the road especially. Hope he is progressing, those can be life threatening if not treated early and properly. Very happy to see the improvement from week 1. USD looked very strong against UM.

    1. I am sure that does affect the psyche somewhat of the defensive backs but I think they were better this game due to it being the 2nd game with JK out. Hopefully he will be back on the sidelines for the Potato Bowl.

  2. homer

    Very well stated on all points.

    Thank you for the updates. This website is awesome for UND football.

    Nice work guys. Go Sioux.

  3. “The UND defense gave up 360 yards of offense by halftime, but clamped down in the second half to hold NIU to 150 yards and gave the offense the ball back when they needed to. ”

    510 yards? wow, toe to toe again.

    1. Johnny B.

      Is your team for real? …Top 10 material? …League title sleepers? …After game #2?

      Lakes, you are so anti-UND, telling people at every turn that you (representing all of NDSU) “don’t care about UND”, yet you take the time to, #1, FIND this UND Football blog; and #2, POST on this UND Football blog.

      Keep it up. The laughing at your efforts to discredit UND at every turn is good for the soul.

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