Northwestern St. Preview

The Demons come into this weekend’s tilt at the Alerus Center with a record of 1-2.  They lost to Air Force and Samford to the start the year but came back to beat Tarleton State last week, 17-14.  Coach Bradley Dale Peveto has assembled a lot of talent, as proven by their #1 recruiting class in 2009, but he has had a hard time making it gel.  While Northwestern State’s record has not been good recently, they definitely have some nice athletic talent.

NSU Offense

The shotgun spread offense is led by Sophomore QB #13 Paul Harris.  He comes into the game with 584 yards passing and is clicking at a 55% completion clip.  He is dangerous because of his scrambling ability.  Harris is not a typical pocket passer, he likes to get out of the pocket and improvise.  The Demons will come at you with typical play action and a bunch of screens to all players.  This will force the Sioux D to be disciplined and stay in their lanes.

The NSU running game is averaging about 80 yards/game.  It is led by RB #32 Sterling Endsley, a 5’10”-200lb powerback.  QB Harris is the second leading rusher on the team.  #7 Bradley Brown and #11 TC Henry are the leading receivers on the team, accounting for 24 catches between them.

The Sioux D-line appears to have the edge again this week.  They should be able to hold the line of scrimmage allowing the linebackers to flow to the ball.  This is will be vital due to all the screens and running that QB Harris will be doing.

NSU Defense

The Demons are a 4-3 Cover 2-Cover 3 team.  The strength of the NSU defense is without a doubt their defensive line.  They do a very good job up front of stopping the run and it is obvious this is their main focus.  From our limited knowledge of what they have done this year, they appear to play things straight up early and bring the blitz on third down.  The Sioux offense needs to get decent yardage on 1st and 2nd down to stay out of the 3rd and long blitzing situations that the Northwestern St. defense loves.  This will be a very good test to see exactly where the Sioux offensive line is at this point in the year.  They have gotten better every game this year and if they can create some holes for Josh Murray and protect Jake Landry against this D-line then we will know they are on track.  Landry has had 2 solid performances in a row and hopefully he can continue to improve and build on those.

The DB’s for NSU will get up in the face of the receiver and challenge them.  It is going to be up to the Sioux receivers to first get off the line and then get open.  That has been an issue for them the last few years.  Hopefully, Greg Hardin will continue make big plays and it will allow some of the other receivers to make some big plays.  The rest of the WR group needs to get more involved to take the attention and pressure off Hardin.


This will be the first FCS game of the year for UND.  Northwestern State comes up to Grand Forks with a lot of talent and speed.  The big question is if it will all come together for them and when.  After playing 2 FBS teams right away and then a D2 team last week, this game will be a more accurate measure of where this Sioux team is at right now and where it will go later in the season.

UND 31

NSU 20

4 Responses

  1. UND92,96

    Is anybody else a little surprised that we haven’t seen more of McGill thus far? It would seem that aside from Hardin, he may be the most explosive athlete UND has at receiver. Hendrickson could also be a potential playmaker.

  2. I could be wrong but I think McGill is swimming a little bit mentally right now, which is to be expected. I also think the staff will gradually ease him into the offense and get him involved more and the season progresses. He definitely has the physical tools, now he just needs to come around mentally and breed some confidence.

    I think we will hear more from Hendrickson throughout the year too. He’s a tough kid that I think will eventually be a main cog in the offense as well.

    We have to remember that between these two players, they had ZERO experience coming into the season at the WR position. As a true freshman and a former QB in transition, it’s a lot to ask of them. Coach Belmore demands a lot from his WR’s and will only put them on the field if he has the confidence and trust in them to do the job.

    Maybe Oskie has different thoughts on this? Oskie?

    1. I agree with Fritz. The staff seems to be bringing McGill along slowly to get him acclimated to the offense and the speed of this level. We are only 3 games in and 2 of them were against FBS teams. Now that the FCS schedule is starting we should see more of Mcgill.
      I would like to see him get the ball in space though, possibly a simple swing pass or bubble screen. Something easy where he can just get it and go one-on-one with the corner/safety. I could see that coming this week on first down being that NSU likes to play it safe and sit in a zone on first down.

  3. FSSD

    I hope that UNDs defense handles a running QB better the next couple of weeks. They need to stay disciplined on the blitz pressure.

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