UND lost to a solid Sacramento State squad 31-7 in what can only be described as an all-around poor effort by the entire team from start to finish. It’s hard to find any positives that came from the game and we truly expected more from UND in this game, considering they were playing an opponent that is not nearly as good as their previous four home opponents.
Pretty much every statistic was in Sac State’s favor so we will spare you the details, but will point to a few that show why the score ended up like it did.
- Time of Possession: Sac State 37 mins UND 22 mins
- Turnovers: UND 4 Sac State 0
One area that stuck out to us was the poor play of the UND offensive line. We cannot even count how many times they appeared to miss their blocks in pass protection or have a breakdown in protection to some extent. To be fair to Joe Mollberg, there aren’t many QB’s in the country who could have done anything positive on Saturday with that level of protection. Freshman QB’s need a running game and time in the passing game and right now, he has neither. To compound that, Mollberg is still missing throws he should make and too many of the easier completions he is making are still being put in spots away from the receivers bodies.
Junior tackle Devin Barton needs to play more. Whenever he has come in to the game he has been solid, starting all the way back at the SDSU game. The guy shows passion out there and seems to fight and claw to the end of the play, every play. Plus, he is going to be your starting right or left tackle next year – get him max reps now. Maybe move Kleason back to guard where he played so well his first two years and have Barton be a left tackle? Kleason is and has always been undersized to play LT and has been thrown around too much recently. It seems like Deneui’s play has digressed this year as well.
We need to give credit to the defensive front seven of Sac State. They were active and relentless all game. Inside linebacker #53 Todd Davis for Sac State is an absolute stud. He was creating problems all game with his interior blitzes. The Hornets did a great job of moving around and disguising their blitzes. This obviously confused the UND O-line and RBs in protection. Once again, chop block penalties were a problem. Miller and Garman have problems physically holding up in protection when called on to help with blitzing linebackers.
We’re not going to go into detail about the defense because quite frankly, as of right now, they are the least of our worries. Do they still need to be better? Sure. Did they play well on Saturday? Nope-very average. However if UND can only score 7 points a game in the Big Sky Conference, they will never win another game. That is why we focused on the offense this week.
UND makes their first ever trip to Portland, OR this week to take on the Portland State Vikings (0-3 in BSC play, 3-4 overall), whom UND beat in a shootout in the Alerus last season. Like Montana and Sacramento State showed, the Vikings might have a chip on their shoulder from losing to UND last season. This will be another tough challenge this week, especially if the turnover rate continues on the same pace.