Sacramento State Thoughts

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
We talked about how UND has to try and turn around their turnover margin but it turned out exactly the same as the EWU game.  Three poor interceptions by QB Joe Mollberg along with an inexcusable attempt at recovering a rolling punt by Kenny Golladay that didn’t need to be recovered were enough to do in the UND offense.  On the year, UND is now an astounding -15 in turnover margin.  Let us repeat:  -15

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.

24 Responses

  1. UND92,96

    It’s difficult to understand how UND’s offensive line can struggle so badly. Between Muss’s past as an offensive line coach and offensive lineman, and the fact that the Dakota’s and Minnesota have traditionally produced a lot of solid linemen over the years, it just doesn’t seem like this should be one of the biggest weaknesses of the program.

  2. Sodak

    I agree with you on giving younger people an opportunity to play. They will be the future, and with the roll-over and play dead attitude with the current starters and the season in shambles, you have got nothing to loose. Put in different people, see what they can do. They may care about the opportunity they are given and really try to impress. As for QB, Mollberg seems to be constantly running for his life. With that said, he still seems like he can’t hit the broad side of a barn when he does have time. Maybe its time to give Bartels a chance again, or even that kid from Grafton. It’s not like things can get much worse!

  3. UNDHockey1

    SFI, What are your thoughts on the running back situation? It has become quite clear we need a running game to take the pressure of our young qb’s. What is also clear is we have no where near an FCS level running back…unless he is on the bench not playing. When they put Jameer Jackson in the backfield, we finally have someone with enough size to compete against the opposing defenses. I thought Jameer Jackson was the only player who showed up Saturday on offense ready to play a game.

    1. In my opinion, you are correct. UND does not have the requisite RBs moving forward to have a consistently successful running game in FCS football or the BSC. All of the current RBs are role guys and we totally respect them for what they are. What true freshman Patrick Sharp will bring to the table remains to be seen, but at this point it does not appear that they have an every down back.

      We need some backs with size, whether its a transfer from an FBS school or a high school recruit. Cody Kirk at Montana State is a perfect example of how it doesn’t even need to be flashy. He just gets it done and grinds out those tough yards behind a very good offensive line.

  4. Spectator

    Your thoughts on the constant bashing, smack talk, calls for coaches jobs and other idiocracies that are poisoning the waters at Do you think that does UND, the team or anyone associated with UND any value?

    1. fan

      I agree with “spectator”!! I know for a fact that some of the team members read this and how does it make them feel??? I am sure it makes it worse than they already feel about how the season is going. We need to support them thru the rest of the season, and stay thru the whole game and cheer them on.

    1. Yes there is, finally. Ferguson appears to be a pretty good athlete, which UND needs more of. Has a body for safety but don’t know about hips.

      1. Geaux_sioux

        I’m not worried about him being able to play safety unless he’s got the grit to do so. If he’s mean and physical then hell yea put him back there but he looks like a nice wr to me and we need to keep reloading at that position.

  5. Jake

    Spectator and Fan….could not agree more. I have pretty much given up following or posting on because of the negativity. When people try to give honest points about where we are as a FB team right now, the same 7 or 8 posters attack them for being apologists, or satisfied with mediocracy, or being Mrs. Mussman. Like somehow they are better fans for wanting to blow everything up. I felt going into this year, we might take a step back with 2 rookie coordinators and 3 freshman QBs. Some on SS say that is an excuse. It’s not, its a reason. UND football will get better, but blowing up the program will only slow that down. Patience

    1. Geaux_sioux

      Just curious. What do you honestly think the best move is for the program after this season? I’m always in favor of patience with coaches but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t seen things that need to change regardless of who is in charge for this program to be successful.

        1. Geaux_sioux

          I feel like we’ve been more than patient though. At what point is it foolishly going down with the ship ala the Titanic and her captain?

    2. UND Supporter

      UND football has regressed this season; if not for anything else, the amount of wins/blowout home losses, and declining attendance numbers should indicate that. I will not directly bring up the coaching staff, but I feel this university and community could and should have way better on the sidelines. When individuals preach patience and reluctance, I do get slightly upset. When was the last time UND competed as the main football program in the state? 2006 or 2007? Is it a coincidence those were the final years that Dale Lennon ran the program? I’m simply proposing the question, but of course, I do have my associated opinions.

      UND football has not put a top product on the field since 2007, but I guess it is okay to wait more than 5 or 6 years for residual improvement while long-time UND supporters and even alumni travel an hour south to inconceivably enjoy Fargo football. After the horrific attendance numbers are recorded on November 9th versus Northern Colorado, our stance should be to be patient? Ignore the immensely declining attendance numbers, the lack of sideline discipline, the lack of player motivation, and most importantly, the lack of competitive football in order to simply hope next season is better? As Albert Einstein once said, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.” Complacency is not the answer, and if you believe it is in this situation, I’m afraid I do not agree with your stance, and very possibly, your stance on several other matters.

  6. William

    In my opinion there are a couple of reasons for the o-line struggles. No Greg Lotusz and no senior leadership.

  7. Den

    One thing I note about jameer Jackson is he is way too slow out of the gate. Similar issue that jimmy k had. Nice size, good speed, but slow accelerating on take off. RB’ s need a quick start. Having said that other Rb’s get knocked down like bugs. RB has been a problem for years. Lucky we had the one good kid last year (name escapes me).
    Losing the Grant kid could have blown a pipeline to what is one of the top 3 HS programs in minnesota. Muss has to go. Reportedly he just made a big remodeling investment in his home, sorry, does not matter the guy is too immature to be a head coach.

  8. fan

    If you had to have your name under your comments, would you still write down what you have said on here?? I doubt it. It is easier to bash and be negative when it is anonymous! Sad, sad!

    1. Den

      Sorry to say it fan, but it is time to take off your rose colored glasses. After watching college coaches in all sports for over sixty years and fortune 100 execs in the real world for another 40, I can say this guy’s actions, words, and body language just do not cut it as a leader! I saw it 3-4 years ago, and he has done zero to change my perception. UND FB has never had a clown like this guy on the sideline in my memory going back to the early 1950’s. May be too nice a guy to be “the head guy”. Some people are. And Den is my name.

      1. My name is Rory, so “fan” should be happy I am using my name in this post. The coach does not throw, run and catch any balls on game day. The coach also does not commit a turnover either. That being said a coaches job is to prepare the team for the opponent and adjust the game plan as the game unfolds. But if the team is not prepared or motivated to play under your system whatever it is then some changes need to be looked at. Mussman has been there 6 years and he has a .500 record. These are the players that he and his coaching staff have recruited to come to UND to play. So has the coaching staff over estimated the player abilities to compete at the high level not only in the Big Sky but in FCS in general? Are the players under performing? Are the coaches under performing? It is a lot easier to get rid or one guy or change the coach than it is to get rid of the entire team. I just wonder if the pressure the coaches and players seem to be under is a result of the success 70 miles south on I-29. It will come UND fans just hang in there. Rome was not built in a day.

        1. Den

          Unfortunately that 500 record shows no signature wins, blowout losses at home against supposedly peer schools, and wins against at least 5 programs at lower classifications or non scholarship FCS programs. The 2-5 record this year is not unexpected considering the quality of the teams played at home, but the lack of credible performances is what concerns everyone. Muss will likely last the rest of the season since he did not get fired after the Portland State mess, but unless the team changes its performance over the next several weeks he has to be replaced. And no I do not compare to NDSU, I compare to schools in the BSC especially the old GWC schools and perhaps USD. They all came from the same place the last few years and are generally outperforming UND.

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