Montana Game Thoughts

The Montana Grizzlies came into the Alerus Center on Saturday with a clear goal in mind:  to not let what happened last season happen again this year.  It was pretty evident they achieved their goal.  The Griz routed UND 55-17 in the most lopsided game in Alerus Center history.  They looked like a completely different team from last season and it showed on the scoreboard.  Montana dominated both sides of the ball and even looked good on special teams as well.  UND heads into their bye week with a 1-2 record.

  • Total Yards =  Montana – 609  UND – 336.
  • Once again UND could not get the running game going.  They finished the game with 35 attempts for 55 yards.  1.6 yds per carry (sacks included).
  • The Montana secondary was much improved over last year.  They played tight coverage all game and gave the UND offense nothing easy at all.
  • UND is now -5 in turnover margin on the year and have only forced one turnover in three games.
  • QB Jordan Johnson has completely changed the Montana offense.  They are a machine with the precision passing, quick footed Johnson at the helm and should be a lock for a high seed come playoff time.  The EWU game at Montana on Oct. 26 will be a good one.
  • Still not quite sure why Montana faked the extra point and ran it in for two when they were up 53-17.  Apparently last year’s SIX point win by UND on a last second TD was reason enough to try and pour it on this year with a classless extra point fake at the end of the game.  Nice touch.
  • Montana was so confident coming in that they kicked off to Greg Hardin every single time, no pooches, no directional kicking, nothing.  Hardin never did break one and was contained most of the game, whether it was on offense or special teams.
Enough of the stats, it was ugly and we could lay out stat after stat that proves it.  The issue now as we sit here on Monday morning is the complete lack of competitiveness by UND.  Once again, UND drove down on the first drive of the game and scored.  Boom – 7-0.  From that point on they were not even competitive as Montana dominated the last 57 minutes of the game.  We are not saying they gave up because it appeared they were trying/hustling but trying/hustling and being competitive are two very different things.  Losing 55-17 to a team that you beat the year before, on the same field, is not acceptable.  The fans are upset as I am sure the coaching staff is too.  
With that being said, now is probably a pretty good time for a bye week.  There is a lot of soul searching that can happen this week, if they care to.  There are 8 games left with four of those being at home.  The season is far from over but efforts like the one on Saturday cannot happen again or the season will be over sooner than it should.  Getting beat one-on-one is acceptable – it happens to damn near every player in America.  Blowing coverage, lining up wrong, missing tackles, missing blocks, and dropping passes are not acceptable at the FCS level.  A couple of those miscues a game – fine.  Ten or more a game – not fine.  


25 Responses

  1. duswede

    Sitting in the front row the entire game, I was blown away, appaled, disgusted etc, at the type of behavior/body language exhibited by the players on the sidelines. Am I too old and to grumpy? Or is it a sign of something bigger?

    1. I have read about some of that on Siouxsports. Did not witness it personally. If true, completely unacceptable and embarrassing. That is where the leadership of the team needs to step in (senior players, etc).

  2. Rita

    What isn’t acceptable is always laying the blame on the players…..when the same mistakes happen, it goes beyond the players.

    1. Not going to argue with you. We were laying out what we saw as a whole.

      I have never been one to call for a coaches head. That is up to the AD and I am far from knowing the inner workings of the UND athletic department. We are only three games in and the time to start calling for head’s is after all the games have been played and the facts are on the table. Lets see how the year turns out, after the young coordinators get more experience, etc. We surely are not happy with how the game went and the blame lies with the staff and the players.

    2. UNDHockey1

      Wondering if all the promoting coaches from within is what’s right for the program. The players…turned coaches seems to be more and more of the same. Not saying a change at the top needs to be made but it is just unacceptable to put out that type of effort whether its at home or on the road.
      It also appeared to me that we have a ways to go at some skill positions after watching some of the Montana players.

  3. FireMuss

    I was sitting front row behind the bench as well. My nephews flag football team has a higher maturity level than the UND football players on the sidelines. All I can say is that I wont spend another dime on this football program until Mussman and his Division II coaching staff is gone….UND’s loss. With the new indoor practice facility construction just beginning this is the perfect time to rebuild this team…Something that Mussman will never be able to do.

  4. geaux_sioux

    What was up with Hardin on Saturday? He looked like he didn’t want to be there. His body language is usually underwhelming but it was different on Saturday. His effort was pathetic and he looked like he gave up. He’s not the only one either. This senior class needs better leadership, if not some young guys need to step up and demand perfection.

    1. Money

      I don’t agree, I saw a kid playing his butt off to get open even when being double and triple teamed and getting over thrown or not even looked at.

      1. Money

        BTW incase anyone noticed the QB locks on one target and never looks at his other options…..He needs more time to get though his progression/options

  5. UND92,96

    I’m not going to call for any coach’s job. But with that said, while it may not be realistic to call the next game a “must win”, is it at least a “must compete”? Another blowout loss would be four in the past ten games going back to last season. That’s quite alarming, particularly considering supposedly less talented UND teams competed very well with the likes of Texas Tech, Northern Illinois, Fresno St., etc. during the transition.

  6. Two Point Reflection

    Gotta say the two point fake was a poor reflection on their team sportsmanship. Yes I agree it’s up to a team to make a tackle and stop when they are getting the score run up on them, but it’s just puzzling they did that – didn’t realize there was bad blood between UND and Montana – if there wasn’t there is now.

    1. UNDHockey1

      How can you get bad blood between programs (from a fan perspective) when no one was there to even see the 2 pt conversion? That shouldn’t bother anybody. What should bother us is the only reason they didn’t score another TD was because they put there 2nd and 3rd team players in. Forcing one punt is unacceptable.

  7. Johnny

    Is it weird that I’m more upset about the offense? I mean, don’t get me wrong, the defense was really bad, but the offense isn’t as good as advertised either.

    We came into this season knowing the defense would give up points and the offense was going to have to score 35-40 (maybe more) to win most games. I thought that was doable. Having 7 or 10 points on the board late in the third quarter in the last two games doesn’t scream “explosive.”

  8. We're not there yet

    We just aren’t there yet and in this day and age many want it to happen now. This is year two out of transition – not an excuse – but that’s where we are and we are playing in the toughest conference in the country. No excuses – reality of the situation. We need a couple of FCS transfers – both schools we just played had them, we need more beef on the line, a quick fast and big running back (They exist – we play against one every week) – no excuses but we just aren’t there yet.

    1. Muss?

      Coach Mussman? Is that you? We have been saying “we aren’t there yet” for the last how many years. I have not seen any improvement in the Mussman Era yet. If we had just 1…JUST ONE….signature win i would be patient and say “we aren’t there yet” but unfortunately we have NOTHING!

  9. Country Fan

    Who’s idea was it to have the players carry out the U.S. Flag. Whoever had the idea better teach the players some flag etiquette. The player holding the U.S. Flag draped over his shoulder (as it was this past weekend) during the anthem has no business carrying the flag. Also person holding the North Dakota flag should know that the flag has to be dipped lower than the U.S. flag during the anthem. While I appreciate there patriotism and love of country they need to show it properly.

  10. fan

    Instead of knocking the coach and players, maybe we should try to be more supportive. Yes, it was a bad game, but rather than being negative, maybe positive comments would be more effective as a fan! We all would rather hear the good things we do, rather than the bad.

    1. biggame

      You clearly haven’t been around UND athletics very long. We are about 90% negative need to call for a coach to be fired every year. I can’t recall the last year fans didn’t call for Hakstol to be canned.

  11. Dave

    Actually FBS transfer are not necessary, The team 75 miles south has had virtually no FBS transfers and are doing ok. Too many FBS transfer gets you a team with the attitudes of UNI or the U of Mont. Very cocky and not very sportsmanlike. We don’t need that at UND. Having the coaches getting the players in position to make plays would go a long ways. Right now I don’t think that is happening. I think fresh blood in the coaching staff would be a good start to a turnaround.

  12. Dr. Sioux

    I noticed the behavior on the sideline last week during the SDSU game. There is a lot of horsing around to put it mildly. In my opinion, that starts at the top with the head coach. There is a lot of “looking the other way” for certain players and trouble they might be in. The lack of discipline is evident by sideline behavior, stupid penalties, and number of times the wrong personel is on the field. I also agree with the comment about the assistant coaches. He makes Schluesner the offensive coordinator with very little experience. He cannot make adjustments! His entire game plan is around getting the ball to Harden or Jackson. When Harden was shut down, they managed to find Jackson a few times, but they could not run the ball! The scheme is very poor to say the least. Now, the talent and size disparity is also a factor but that goes right back to the head coach and his recruiting philosophy. UND may win 2 more games this season if they are lucky.

  13. firg voss reporting

    if your gonna lose, lose young….play edwards, cheathom, kuska, labatt, ratelle (when healthy), and rich…sit mackey (forever please), henson, otto, peters, finley….

  14. Sugar Beet King

    I have followed UND football for more years than I care to admit! I have seen the bad years and the very good years. Sadly, it looks like we are going back to the “bad years” again. I have never been a fan of the recent coaching staff. Without going into too much detail, I don’t believe they are focused on the kind of kids that were here when the program was competing and winning championships. Coach Mussman has put the offense in the hands of a young coach with ZERO experience as an offensive coordinator. The defense needs no comment! Does Mussman feel obligated to bring back the class of 2001? I watched a team last season that couldn’t tackle my 96 year old mother. This year looks to be no different. Montana could have scored 75 points. You also saw an offensive coordinator who was unable to make adjustments to a solid game plan from Montana. Hardin was shut down, the pathetic running game was more pathetic than ever, and neither QB showed they were ready to be the starter. I usually am a fan who supports the program regardless. I can honestly say I am tired of the blowout losses and a coaching staff that is mediocre at best. I hope Brian has the guts to make a change.

Comments are closed.