The UND Football has just finished an extremely well-time bye week and are now officially preparing for the first ever visit to the Alerus Center by the Montana State Bobcats. UND enters the game with a 1-2 record, as do the Bobcats. Our game preview will be coming later in the week.
We thought now would be a good time to reflect back on the first three games to pinpoint any issues that can be cleaned up.
- One stat that needs to be flipped around is turnover margin. UND is currently -5 on the season through three games, which is very poor. The defense needs to start creating turnovers through stripping the ball, interceptions (begins with sound coverage), or special teams play. They will not finish the year with a winning record if this stat does not get into the positive.
- The quarterbacks need to throw more TD’s. I know, duh, but only having six TD passes through three games in a pass happy offense is not going to get it done. They have 4 legitimate receivers to throw to and have had time for a good part of the games. Bartels and Mollberg are freshman so we understand there is a learning curve and we also know that seniors Braden Hanson and Marcus Hendrickson spoiled us last year. However, it is time for these two to show what they got and jumpstart the offense. Two of the toughest teams on the schedule are both done now – lesser defenses are on the horizon.
- The defense needs to tackle better, which will cut down on the 412 yds/game they are giving up of total offense. It will also cut down on the 33 pts/game they are giving up.
- UND has three sacks in three games. UND’s opponents have ten.
- The UND secondary needs to get things squared away with coverages and alignment. They cannot keep having breakdowns vs. simple route combinations. The second TD that Montana scored was a blown coverage vs a simple corner route. Corner Daryl Brown didn’t appear to drop deep enough on the play to cover the deep corner route.
- One positive for the defense is that they should have starters DE Seth Stanchik, LB Garrison Goodman, and backup LB Will Ratelle back in the mix for this weeks game. Nothing is guaranteed but we are thinking they will be back after a week off.
- Penalties. UND has had twice as many penalties as their opponents thus far and obviously that cannot continue.
- True freshman Punter Mitch Meindel has been very good thus far in the season. He is averaging 41 yds/punt and has put seven inside the twenty yard line. His long punt is 57 yards.
The Montana State Bobcats come into this game off a wild 52-38 loss the Stephen F. Austin down in Nacogdoches, TX. SFA runs a similar offense to UND’s in that they spread four receivers and like to throw the ball around (56 attempts). The blue print is there for the UND passing game and hopefully they can have similar success this week at the Alerus Center. The replacement for All-American QB Denarius McGhee, Jake Bleskin, threw four INT’s vs. SFA and is nowhere near the running threat or deep passing threat that McGhee was. This will be a big break for the UND defense but they still need to figure out a way to stop RB Cody Kirk, who ran wild on UND last season.