UND went out to Greeley, CO for the last game of the 2012 season and lost a heartbreaker to Northern Colorado on Saturday, 28-27. The loss dropped their record to 5-6 overall on the season and 3-5 in the Big Sky Conference. There is no doubt that the UND team wanted to end the season with a winning record and were oh so close to doing it. From a fan’s perspective it was a very entertaining game to watch. UNC finished a remarkable turnaround season by finishing tied for 5th in Big Sky play at 4-4, and 5-6 overall – just one year removed from going 0-11.
- The UND defense did not have a great day, again, but that was to be expected. They were without 4 starters/top backups and had been getting run on all year. We knew UNC would try to run but allowing 231 yards to that team is way too much. They averaged 7 yds/carry. The top 5 leading tacklers for UND were all defensive backs – never good.
- Braden Hanson had another great day statistically with 382 yds passing and 3 TD’s but his 3 INT’s were just as big. The two INT’s in the fourth quarter were killers as UND had the momentum to take the lead. He did do an excellent job leading UND down the field at the end of the game to set them up in field goal range to win the game. He definitely knows how to run a two-minute drill.
- Speaking of the decision to not kick the field goal and go for it on 4th down – the kick would have been 51 yards, which is well within Miller’s range, but would have also been into a slight cross-wind making the kick difficult and somewhat tricky at minimum. Another factor that people must remember is that UND has had multiple kicks blocked in the past month and protection issues may have come up in the discussion on the UND sideline. Just a couple variables that we’re sure entered into the equation. On the flip side there were 47 seconds left. If they get the first down, they get the ability to run at least 3 more passing plays to try and gain as many yards as possible to make the kick shorter. Bubble screen, hitch, anything to pick up 5-8 yards. The problem is their short yardage back, Mitch Sutton, was out for year and not available. They had to turn to Jer Garman who is not a power back by any means. He is more of a edge runner. Maybe would have been better to have a more physical back like Sparks in there. On top of that, the offensive line was not getting much of a push all day and getting one yard was going to be tough, especially in that situation. Oh, and one more thing that came to light on Sunday – UNC had 12 guys on the field for that fateful 4th and 1 play. Yes, TWELVE guys and of course, the Big Sky officials missed it. After laying all of that out, some might say the safe, easy thing to do would have been to give Zeb Miller an opportunity to kick the football. Coach Mussman chose not to and it didn’t work out. Whether you agree or disagree with the call, he’s the head coach and is charged with making those difficult decisions week in and week out. The decision will definitely be one that is discussed plenty by UND fans over the next few days and into the offseason.
- Greg Hardin capped off one of the most prolific seasons in UND Football history at the WR position with an 8 catch, 109 yard, 1 TD performance in Greeley on Saturday. He finishes the season with 65 catches for 1,145 yards and 14 TDs. Not be be a downer, but that easily could have been 80 catches for 1,400 yards and 18 TDs. Drops plagued Hardin and the UND wide receivers all season long.