UND lost 45-38 to Northern Arizona on Saturday at UND’s homecoming game. UND has now lost three straight homecoming games. Northern Arizona, ranked #16 in the latest poll, jumped out to an early 14-0 lead but UND battled back to tie it up at 17. It was back and forth most of the game after that until NAU pulled away with two straight TD’s. It was definitely an entertaining game to watch as their were no shortage of big-time playmakers out there on the field.
- The most telling stat of all: NAU – 82 total plays, UND – 52 total plays. That’s right, NAU ran 30 more plays than UND and only won by 7 points. This is a silver lining only, of course. NAU also held the time of possession advantage at 39-21. Incredible that UND stayed in this game given those 2 HUGE disadvantages.
- The UND offense had a fairly good day on Saturday. They ended up with 361 total yards, 111 of them on the ground. QB Braden Hanson was very accurate and ran the offense well overall in his first full start since week 1 against SD Mines. Hanson left the game late in the 4th after taking a hard hit but still ended up with 233 yds and 3 TD’s.
- Can’t say enough about the character of Marcus Hendrickson. After Hanson went down, Hendrickson stepped in stone cold and threw a TD pass on his first attempt to Greg Hardin to get within 7 points in the 4th quarter. Regardless of which QB is better at what, Marcus has shown remarkable mental resiliency and we don’t want it to go unnoticed.
- Dropped balls haunted the UND offense again this week as Kenny Golladay had a ball go off his hands on a dig route, which deflected into the NAU defense’s hands on the very first series.
- Pass protection was better this week. NAU got 2 sacks but tried to pressure Hanson alot and couldn’t get through.
- WR Jameer Jackson (105 yds -2 TD’s) and WR Greg Hardin (83 yds-2TD’s) both had outstanding games. They both stepped up in the absence of RJ McGill, who is out for the season.
- Now for the defense. They gave up 568 total yards on Saturday, marking the third time this season they have given up more than 500 yds.
- We knew NAU could run the ball with Zach Bauman, who by the way was every bit as good as advertised – very tough to bring down and had a good speed/quickness. Bauman ended the day with 180 yds ad 2 TD’s even though he missed part of the game with a shoulder injury. But, NAU ended up throwing all over UND to the tune of 363 yds for QB Cary Grossart. Grossart had not been a very prolific passer coming into this but showed some outstanding touch and arm strength vs. UND.
- The UND cornerbacks got beat badly on many occasions. Short routes, deep routes and intermediate routes that got the first down and extended drives for NAU were all killers on Saturday. Things are just way too easy for the opposing WR’s this season. We had hoped the DB play would improve this season but going against better WR’s on a weekly basis is showing us that their are still major issues in the secondary.
- WR Ify Umodu had a huge day for NAU with 118 receiving yds and 1 TD.
- UND turned over NAU twice on interceptions, their first turnovers in 4 and a half games.
- The UND defense was beat up coming into the game with Ross Brenneman, their top DL, out for the game and NG Devin Benjamin, LB Cordero Finley, LB Garrison Goodman all playing badly hurt. They just do not have the depth yet to fill in a new person and try to stop a Big Sky type of offense.
Bring on the Griz.