Cal-Poly Reaction

UND lost their first Big Sky Conference game of the season on Saturday to Cal-Poly 35-17.  UND took the lead 17-14 early in the fourth quarter but Poly came storming back immediately and answered to take back the lead.  UND couldn’t do the same.

  • Turnovers and Special Teams were the difference in this game.  UND committed 4 turnovers, including the 3rd play of the game on the Hardin fumble, which set an early tone.  Poly immediately capitalized with a TD.  On Special Teams, we feel UND lost the battle for the first time in a long time with the failed fake punt and blocked FG.
  • We would like to applaud the aggressiveness that UND and Head Coach Chris Mussman showed on Saturday.  The fake punt was a good call in a good situation and if Daryl Brown stays outside instead of cutting inside, he has a chance to make the first down.  We also liked giving Zeb Miller the opportunity to kick the 54 yard FG rather than punt.  Even in hindsight, we felt these were the right calls at the right times.  We would much rather see them be aggressive like this in Big Sky play rather than conservative.
  • Poly is every bit as good as advertised and we give them full credit for that victory.  They were the better team on offense, defense, and special teams on Saturday.   They have some very good athletes on the field and they should have a say in who wins the Big Sky championship come November.
  • The interior of the UND defense is getting gashed way too often.  This is the 4th straight game now where a team found easy running lanes between the tackles.  Poly had not used the fullback as much coming into this game but obviously saw something they liked. They repeatedly hit #8 Umoh on dives and also ran multiple counter plays that swept back through the middle.
  • Poly rushed for 321 yds on 56 carries.  Goes without saying that is way too many rushing yards to give up.  The strength of the UND defense was rushing defense last season.
  • Telling Stat #1 – Cal-Poly was 9-13 on third down.  You’re going to win a whole bunch of football games when you can do that.
  • Telling Stat #2 – Cal-Poly was 5-6 on scoring chances in the red zone – all TD’s.
  • Cal-Poly had the play of the game when they blocked the Zeb Miller FG attempt.  It was a 54 yard try, which is hard enough, but the snap was high and threw off the timing.  They blocked it, took over on offense, and immediately drove down and scored to make it 28-17 and essentially ending the game.  If Miller can connect on that kick it makes it a 21-20 Poly lead.  Huge swing.
  • We cannot believe that the drops continue to happen for this talented WR group, specifically Greg Hardin.  It is unacceptable for players of this caliber.
  • Kenny Golladay made another catch that made people say ‘wow’ on his one-handed catch and run on a corner route.  He is a special talent that was more involved this week in the offense.  This needs to continue.
  • Marcus Hendrickson struggled a little against the zone coverages by the Poly defense.  He missed on a few balls that he needs to connect on – a couple of which were big-gainers and/or TDs if he connects.  However, he did breathe life into the offense once again with his legs by extending plays and getting first downs by scrambling.
  • Offensive line play was average.  Cal-Poly caused problems up front with their athletic and deep defensive front.  The hogs had too many lapses in pass protection and the running game.

One last thing:  While it was certainly disappointing for UND to lose this game, there is a lot of season left and their goals are still attainable.  The next 3 weeks will be crucial in determining the direction of this team for the rest of the season.  The players and coaches will hang in there, the UND fans need to as well.  Off to Cheney, WA for a big tilt at The Inferno with Eastern Washington.

21 Responses

  1. Dustin

    With the way the O-line has been playing, Marcus Hendrickson’s ability to scramble really helps out, but his passing has gotten mediocre (that it was where it was is something to be thankful for). If the O-line can shore up the pocket protection, then I think it’s time to get Braden Hansen back taking snaps.

  2. MoSiouxFan

    Do you expect to see Lynch and/or Kleason back for the E. Washington game to give our 0-line a lift?

    1. Losing Lynch was a tough blow, hopefully they can get him fitted with something to immobilize his thumb and still allow him to block sufficiently. I would think he could come back this week but we haven’t heard anything on Kleason so he seems doubtful.

  3. firg voss reporting

    any word on why goard and lewis didn’t play?

    what’s the deal with jer?

    time to try someone else on the d-line? spencer or aj

    j-bulter needs to get on the field NOW

    1. Both Goard and Lewis played in the game.

      Garman is stuck in a bad spot right now. He has Miller and Sutton ahead of him at RB and UND has 4-5 legit WR’s that they can shuffle in so he doesn’t get any run in the slot. Just a tough deal, right now. He has to keep plugging away and he will get his chance.

      Welch hasn’t played lately for whatever reason but we think he will be needed soon. Cummings may have been hurt last week, did not see him in there.

      Javen Butler is a year away. This is his first year playing since 2010 and he needs reps, whether its special teams or defense.

      1. geaux_sioux

        Jer looks way slower this year.

        Ben Henson gets pushed around when he gets in the game, they need to at least let EJ show that he deserves as little playing time as he’s been getting instead of watching Henson get owned every time he gets in.

        Also, I haven’t noticed the normal amount of blitzing that UND is famous for, do you think it’s because of the spread offenses that we’ve been facing? The D-line needs to step up the pressure off the edge if we can’t blitz a ton of LBs.

  4. UND9296

    If you had to pick one thing, what’s the biggest reason the run defense has been such a disappointment so far? Not trying to throw any individual under the bus–just trying to understand how a potential strength has fallen so short of expectations.

    1. Lets be honest, they are playing better teams with very good running backs each and every week. They have never seen running backs like these – from DJ Adams to Muema to D. Williams.

      We agree that the run defense is not even close to what it needs to be. Its on the players to figure it out. The coaches can only coach them so much and then put them in positions to make plays. Its up to the players to execute.

      One disappointing spot for us is the play of the interior defensive line. They have been thrown around pretty good so far this year and that should not be happening. And if they are being blocked out of there, the ILB should be stepping up to fill the gaps. Something isn’t happening.

      1. JW

        Oskie, get real…..I would suggest that the first four games last year vs Drake, Idaho, Fresno State and So Utah had as many good running backs as the first four teams played this year. The kids will get better but it takes time.

        1. Those running backs are not even in the same league as the three I mentioned. Check the stats. I will be back later to confirm for you.

          However, the point of my reply was not to glorify the RB’s as the reason. They are a small part but the major problem is a combination of everything I mentioned – interior defensive line, ILB’s, etc. It all works together and something isn’t gelling. Maybe Dan Hendrickson was that good?

          1. geaux_sioux

            The only very good RB last year was Rouse, he is the real deal. Dan Hendrickson may be the least appreciated player in UND history, which says alot because it’s not like people didn’t know he was the heart of the defense. He was the guy that always set the tone, made the big hit/play, made the right adjustment, est. Then throw in the special teams dominance and you’ve got Digger Anderson 2.0.

    2. 92,96 – One thing that gets lost in the run defense is the run support on the perimeters from the corners. Last week, we got KILLED on the perimeter by cut-blocks. They have to stay on their feet better. The corners absolutely need to do a better job on the edge getting off blocks, tackling and knifing down blockers to make a pile and/or make the play, especially against an option team like Poly. We are lacking toughness from our corner play right now in run support.

  5. Cal

    Dan Hendrickson had the skills and the attitude. The D has the skills but absolutely no attitude. They are lacking a killer instinct.

    1. Good point Cal. They have to want it badly and do it TOGETHER. I agree that right now there is a lack of “kickass” attitude to this defense overall. It’s up to the players.

      1. UND9296

        I’m just speculating, but with the dI move is it possible that recruiting–particularly defensive players–has focused too much on kids with great measureables, and not enough on intangibles, such as toughness and a willingness to hit? I’m kind of afraid that over the last four or five years, while we’ve gained in speed, the overall defense has regressed.

  6. geaux_sioux

    Somebody on the D needs to step up and be ‘the dude’ Brenneman doesn’t have the right kind of nasty to him, he’s a really good player but isn’t nasty. Maybe Goodman can become that for the D? Running backs don’t get scared to go up the middle because they know that their head won’t get taken off. Same for receivers, you can tell that opposing teams don’t fear our D. That didn’t used to be the case and that wasn’t because of skill, we just had some bad dudes with bad intensions. We need the D to get that back, they had some of it last year even.

  7. firg voss reporting

    favorite play of the game was the 2nd and 15 slooooow moooootion draaaaaaw to sutton?…one yard

  8. Mike L.

    One adjustment I noticed was that our defensive ends were each moved a couple feet wider after the half, I assume to help on the outside running game. Some of the biggest plays we gave up in the second half were quick hitters right up the middle. Cal Poly saw the change and exploited it. Those runs are intended to get 4 or 5 yards, but resulted in some huge gains. When the ILB’s got blocked it became a footrace. For me the entire game was a case of executing the basics. The one area I thought we would be able to match up every game in the Big Sky was both sides of the lines. Even in the games we won, I think our lines were outplayed. The PSU game was different in that the offense executed and we outscored them, but I think PSU line play was better than UND. If Marcus makes a couple throws early the Cal Poly game could have been a lot different……Execution.

    1. Very well put and observant. As far as Marcus goes, he has missed the throws he made earier in the year – however, the receivers have also dropped some passes that they caught earlier in the year. Combo of both. He needs to start dropping in those posts and corner routes instead of overthrowing them by 5 yards. The receivers will be open every week, they are that good.

  9. duswede

    I dont know what will happen in Cheney this weekend. What I do know is that since beginning of 2010 UND has played 22 FCS or better opponents. In the games that UND is either even or minus in the turnover category they are 0-13. In the games that UND is positive in the turnover category they are 9-0. If UND takes care of the football, I like their chances.

Comments are closed.