Post-Montana Thoughts

In what was by far the most exciting game ever in the D1 era of North Dakota football, UND took down the Montana Grizzlies 40-34 to even up their record on the year to 4-4.  The Griz dropped to 3-5 on the 2012 campaign.  It was a good quality win for UND who now gets to head out to Bozeman to take on the Griz’s arch rival, Montana State.

  • Braden Hanson set both UND and Big Sky records with 660 passing yards on Saturday.  Minus a few mistakes that he made on a two of his interceptions, Hanson had an outstanding day chucking the ball around the Alerus Center.  His poise in the pocket and understanding of defense’s is something we have not seen at UND in a long time.  We think it’s safe to say there should no longer be a QB controversy.
  • Hanson hung in there til the last second, as usual, on the final TD to Greg Hardin and paid the price for it.  Montana sent 7 guys and manned up on the receivers and one of the ILB’s came through untouched and smacked Hanson just as he got rid of the ball.  Not sure if Hanson even saw the TD.
  • Not to be outdone, WR Greg Hardin also set UND and Big Sky records with 333 yards receiving on the day.  Hardin had 12 receptions for an astounding 28 yard average.  Oh, he also had 3 TD’s.  Hardin is the leading receiver in the Big Sky in yardage (943) and TD’s (12) by a wide margin.
  • Our SFI game ball goes to somebody who did not set any records on Saturday.  Yes, we are not giving it to Braden Hanson or Greg Hardin.  We should, but we are not.  The person we are giving our game ball to is junior WR Blair Townsend.  Townsend had 13 catches for 152 yards and 1 TD.  However, the most astounding statistic we found was that of the 13 catches that Townsend made, nine of them resulted in a first down.  NINE FIRST DOWNS.  That is the ultimate sign of a clutch player.  Four of those first down catches were in the fourth quarter.  Without those catches by Townsend UND does not win this game.  Blair stepped up big in the absence of RJ McGill and filled in admirably.
  • Freshman WR Jameer Jackson also had a huge day with 8 catches for 124 yards.  We mentioned that Townsend had 9 first down catches.  Jackson had 7 first down catches.  Those are two big-bodied receivers that Hanson is looking to when he needs to move the chains.
  • The UND offensive line had a nice day in pass protection overall.  Montana only had 3 sacks in 61 passing attempts.  Also factored in is that Braden Hanson is not a mobile QB to begin with and he is playing on a bad ankle.  3 sacks is not too bad.  There were many times where UND ran extended crossing routes that needed 3-4 seconds to develop and the offensive line allowed them that time.
  • The Montana front 7 is a hand-full.  We were most impressed by #58 and #52.  Those guys are playmakers.
  • Still too many drops by the UND WR’s.  We counted as many as five balls that should have / could have been caught.
  • Defensively, UND must have saw something from the first half that they could fix because after the initial two TD drives in the 3rd quarter Montana did not get much.   The UND defense forced five straight punts in the fourth quarter and the six drive ended the game on a Jay Nelson sack and forced fumble.  That fourth quarter effort was as good of defense as UND has played this year.
  • Nelson had a great game for UND from his defensive end position.  He ended the day with 7 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 FF, 2 tackles-for-loss and 3 quarterback hurries.  All-time effort out of the senior from Wheaton, MN.  Not bad for a walk-on.  UND needs more guys like Jay Nelson on the team – lunch pail, former walk-ons that play with passion each and every game.
  • The UND run defense was much better on Saturday.  Montana ended the day with 163 yds rushing but most of that came early in the game.  Granted, the UND offense taking the lead got Montana out of their game but they still tried to run the ball periodically and it was just not there in the second half.
  • Over 500 yards of offense is once again too much for this defense.
  • The officiating in this game was the worst we have seen all year.  Between the Kenny Golladay non-TD that was ruled out of bounds when he clearly got one foot down and the missed spot on the 4th and 1 play when Hanson QB leap/snuck it, the officials definitely put their stamp on this game – and not for the better.  The Big Sky office needs to take note of how this game was officiated.  It represented the Big Sky Conference poorly.

6 Responses

  1. geaux_sioux

    No mention of Ivory flying around to the ball and making a couple plays in limited time at safety?

    Also Carr made a huge play when he jarred a ball loose on a crutial 3rd down play.

    1. We could have easily mentioned Carr, he had a pretty nice game. We did notice Ivery a bit out there. As weak as the safety position is that should be his new full time gig.

  2. Will

    Great write up. Agree 100% on Blair T……..After seeing glimpses from Townsend last year and the ’12 Spring game I thought he would be a huge factor this year. It just shows how talented UND’s recieving corps is that he has been somewhat limited. Great win for UND.

  3. Rob

    Just wondering if you know of any interesting recruits that were at the game? Also is there still an unknown “chest bump”?

  4. Bryan Hanson

    Braden’s Dad and Great Uncle applaud you pick of Blair Townsend for the game ball. Given the circumstances, his final catch was truly amazing.

  5. Cfm

    I don’t think the Golladay TD was an easy call to make. I thought he was out until I saw the replay. No hard feelings on that one, just an amazing play.

    The INT was a bad call as was the non 1st down. Glad to see UND didn’t collapse after that.

    Good to see Montana didn’t get a 100 rusher on Sat. It’s a start and hopefully some confidence going into MSU!

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