Northern Arizona Reaction

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.


22 Responses

  1. Johnny

    One of my biggest complaints from the game, (I have many), is after Hansen gets leveled, which from the replay, shows a helmet to helmet hit…there is no emotion from the head coach. After realizing Hansen is all right, how does he not question the officials on the hit? I’m definitely not saying the officials had anything to do with the loss, but I think the lack of emotion after that play from our coach is troubling. This team needs a serious change in game planning and I think Mussman needs to re-evaluate his staff in the offseason.

  2. Cheap shot on Hansen

    I was wondering why no players reacted to the cheap shot on Hansen, if this would have been a hockey game someone would have paid. With so much being reported about concusions going unchecked I think UND should be sending a video clip of that hit to someone within the conference. It was an obvious attempt to injure, Hansen was on his way down when the NAU player made the hit.

  3. firg voss reporting

    its amazing how easily an opposing team scores their td’s against und…the last two running td’s he walked in upright almost completely untouched and the slant td pass looked like hall wasn’t even expecting a slant…totally untouched?

    how bad are the backup db’s if mackey if still the second best of them?

    merseroux is just plain bad….jer should at least be the punt returner from here on out

  4. firg voss reporting

    plus i gotta take a shot at dan hammer…i think tony stein mentioned that nau’s rb is probably the best in the bsc and one of the better one’s in the country and gotta love those fargo transplants that und seems to like to recyle because hammer has to get a mention of ndac and their game versus isu talking about isu’s rb and then he goes on to mention sdsu and their running back?

    question? since hammer didn’t even know how to pronounce bauman’s name a few times but he could correctly pronounce two rb’s from the gateway conference, do you think that hammer could correctly name the two starting rb’s at two other bsc schools?

    ed schultz
    jack michaels
    dan hammer

    isnt’ there someone from outside fargo that midco could have gotten that doesn’t see through green/yellow goggles?

  5. G SMITH

    Where were the Safteys and corners in this game #21 looked like he wanted to be some place else Alo didnt like Coach not going for it on 4th and 2 in 4th qtr defence wasnt stoping anything and after punt only neted 10 yrds from the spot on the field
    If were going to win Any games it will be with Offense and being agressive with it>

  6. Sioux Letterman

    A few comments…….AGREE whole heartedly with the comments about Coach Mussman. I know quite a few players on the team and there are several themes that resonate:
    1) This coaching staff offers no motivation whatsoever…..from top to bottom, no emotional speeches, no get fired up talks…..nothing. Explains a bit why such a “no reaction” to the hit on Hansen (which no doubt should have been a penalty).
    The coaching staff and head coach need to be held accountable for poor play.
    1)The defensive staff needs to go…..they come out in the same basic alignment every
    week and give up huge yardage on the ground and through the air. San Diego State
    had only two receivers in the pattern and their TE was WIDE open on numerous
    2)This is by far the worst tackling team I have ever seen. Goodman makes almost every tackle. The d-backs all put their heads down when they tackle and miss tackles or bounce off of opposing players.
    3)I agree the comments about the d-backs. It starts with the coaching! Mersereau is bad and it looks like he lost his starting job but didn’t see a lot of improvement.
    4) Did I mention that team cannot tackle?!?!?!? Did I mention this team can’t cover anyone?!?!?
    1)The offensive line is solid and has gotten better every week. They run block well and pass protection is much better.
    2)How do you yank Hendrickson after the way he has played? The rotation against EW was crap. Understand you want to get Hanson back but not at the expense of a kid who has played his ass off. That move took away the flow against EW. Also agree that he is a class act for being able to step in and lead the team to a TD against NAU.
    3)Don’t understand the RB position either. There is a love affair with Jarmin that started last year (playing as a true freshman). He is too small, fumbles too much, and gets tackled too easily. Baffled that Shaugabay and Sparks don’t see the field at RB. They both run hard and are tough to bring down.
    4)Don’t understand the WR position either. Ivery and Bridges are small and don’t block. Jackson has been solid every week. Young came in highly recruited but doesn’t see the field for some reason. Move one of the WR to d-back! Ivery at corner? Young at SS? They can’t do any worse!
    1)Solid kicking game although punting has been a bit inconsistent

    Defense needs to get bigger, stronger, and faster. Offense is young and has plenty of weapons.

    1. defense?

      Why is it that alot of the LBs don’t look the part? Guys like Jablonski Otto Hickle and Bennett all don’t look big enough to play LB in a 3-4. Why are these guys not filling out in their time at UND? Are they not committed enough to dedicate themselves to be not only big but lean and athletic? Maybe the program doesn’t mean as much to this new crop of guys as it obviously meant to previous teams? They didn’t exactly seem embarrassed by the Poly loss and the EWU debacle like they should. Guys like Digger Dan Hendrickson and Schmidt were great because they worked their asses off and gave everything they had to represent the program not because of their talent. You can bet there are plenty of talent to be better than those guys were, they just aren’t dedicated enough to become great.

      1. Inside guy

        Sioux letterman and defense……..pretty insightful comments and can’t argue with any of them. Here is player perspective on a few members of the coaching staff:
        Mussman…zero emotional leadership and surrounds himself with good old boys
        Defensive staff…..clueless
        Luke Schleusner….has no idea how to coach and is too busy trying to be “one of the guys”. Is lucky to have enough talent to hide his lack of talent.
        Strength & Conditioning…..listen, guys can’t be forced to stay over the summer and work out but many do. Here is the problem….there is zero penalty for not doing it. If coaches love certain players it doesn’t matter if they stay or don’t stay. Conversely, there are those who stay, work hard and gain nothing because of love affair mentioned earlier…..specifically at RB and WR.

  7. JW

    WOW….some pretty candid comments from people who seem to know the facts from the inside. I have been watching UND football closely the past few seasons and have wondered about coaching decisions and play calling (both O & D). Sioux Letterman’s comment about yanking Marcus as well as the rotation is right on. Hendrickson has played his ass off and does not deserve to be benched.

  8. firg voss reporting

    oskie, your around the program a lot…are these insiders well informed or just making stuff up in your opinion?

    1. The posts are from people who seem to know alot more than me. I would not know that level of information, whether it is opinion or not. I think some of it is embellished but for somebody to write that much stuff they must have been close to the program at one time. Personally, I don’t think things are that bad. Winning cures alot of problems and UND has not won the past 3 games.

  9. YoH0

    For the sake of “fair and ballanced” we reluctantly offer the following observations
    and comments. We will deal mainly with Jer Garman, whom we have followed for
    some 18 years, beginning with little league in Kindegarten.

    Most will agree there are basically 2 types of RB’s, big Plow Through, and Zig-Zag
    Elusive type. The latter is what Jer is, this type works best behind a blocking FB
    or lineman to get past the DL at least. Getting in the open where they can use their
    running skill to best advantage. Another way is use the screen pass, slot type play.

    The above proceedures is how Jer was named top RB in top division 3 times in the
    state of Iowa. He, as part of his team, went from NO WIN season to league champs.
    In doing so broke NFL standout Tim Dwight’s records of most TD’s and total yards.
    This is against some BIG, fast, teams, in Iowa’s premier division. He was also named
    OMVP in Iowa’s Shrine game, unfortunately in a losing effort, in the “trenches.”

    As far as WHO plays, the coaches see, and evaluate, ALL RB’s in practice, many hours
    each week. One would think they would be most qualified to determine the players
    playing rotations, over armchair observers from afar.

    Fumbles, again, way too many, in 4 years of HS, we saw him drop the ball 3 times,
    2 of them in the same game. Granted didn’t see every game, but would have “heard”
    about it. So WHY? yes, different League to be sure, needs to be tightend up now. Also
    more playing time and flow of game confidence is also important.

    SIZE: Most of us “old-timers”, would consider the game today as “wussy” compared
    to say the IOWA IRONMEN of the late 1930’s. Went both ways, now huddle, no time
    team time-outs. They also went from, NO wins to Big Ten Champs. Many deserving,
    but their top man, Heisman Trophy winner, RUNNING BACK, etc, Nile Kinnick, his
    SIZE, 5′-8” 160 pounds. Nuff said.

    All the above is from memory, so minor errors a possibilty.

    Finally thanks, and “go UND”.

  10. Cal

    Some of the comments about Mussman need to be taken with a grain of salt. I also know players on the team and their views of Mussman are completely different and a lot more positive. It seem some posters have an axe to grind.

  11. Cal

    A couple of points I also need to make. Marcus has not “played his ass off” Braden is the better quarterback and should play over Marcus. Sparks is not ready to see the field. A comment was also made that the team was not embarrassed by the cal poly and ewu loss. Clearly, you know no one on the team. They were completely embarrassed.

  12. Inside guy

    Hey YoHo, glad your kid is playing………based on the stats he should be starting tailback at Notre Dame! Hey, he plays hard and will hopefully get better every week.
    Hey “Cal”……Marcus isn’t playing his ass off? Wow, I must be watching a different kid. His mobility alone has kept the team in games. Regarding Mussman……he is not a motivator and which leads to not getting 110% from your team.

    1. YoH0

      Thanks INSIDE GUY, I really don’t like to have had to write and “sing” about
      my Grandson. Considering the comments made, thought in fairness, a few
      words from someone who knows, might be of help.
      Thanks again, & have a great day.

  13. UND-FB-FAN

    When is being mediocre-at-best not enough? Mussman only brings that to the table and his lackadaisical demeanor and attitude as a coach will always bring that. I hope this team turns it around, but I honestly just don’t see it happening under his leadership. Oh, and I’ve been told by former players the same thing – Mussman is a quiet guy with no “oorah” to him.

  14. Johnny

    Winning does cure a lot, but many people are starting to see some of the reoccurring problems with this staff. Too bad the enlightened one from siouxsports (the only one there who constantly quotes himself) doesn’t come on here and tell us how Mussman and Faison are the best and neither one has ever made a mistake.

  15. Sioux Letterman

    I will add a few more comments and then I will quit with the negativity. And hey YoHO….your grandson may be Mr. Iowa but he sure isn’t Mr. classroom. Which leads me to my last point about this program. The pressure of moving up to D1 forces programs to sacrifice certain things……the biggest being lowering academic standards. My advice to Mr. Faison and President Kelly is the put the clamps on this before it ruins the entire program. Check out how many players have subpar grades at midterm. This is a direct reflection of the head coach and those around him who recruit players with borderline high school GPA’s at best. It is also a reflection of coaches who minimize the importance of maintaining your grades.

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