At first glance this game looks like it would be close on the stat sheet. However the end result is a 21 point loss for the good guys. Here are the notable stats from the game.
- 1st Downs: UND 27 NAU 27
- Total Plays: UND 77 NAU 76
- Rushing Yards: UND 50 NAU 275
- Passing Yards: UND 371 NAU 204
- Total Yards: UND 421 NAU 479
- Turnovers: UND 2 NAU 0
- The UND offense shook things up on Saturday in a couple different ways. Joe Mollberg took the opening series and then yielded to Ryan Bartels for the rest of the way. Also, there was a changeup on the offensive line as Joe Kleason moved to center while Devin Barton moved out to left tackle. We saw results we hadn’t seen for quite a while.
- Bartels played a pretty good game for not playing in a while. He finished 39-59 for 367 yards and 4 TDs but made 2 bad throws that resulted in the turnovers that have been plagueing UND all season long. He also needlessly ran to pressure on a couple of occasions.
- As of right now, there are 3 certainties in regards to the QB situation. First, there is no doubt that Joe Mollberg is the better athlete with the stronger arm and the better physical tools. Secondly, there is no doubt that Ryan Bartels is better mentally and has the pocket presence and is able to make the proper reads and throws – everything seems a lot smoother and on time with rhythm in the pocket. While Bartels underthrew a couple open deep balls on Saturday, he seems to put the ball on the WR more often than not so they have time to get up field. Bartels also seems to have leadership qualities that you want when things aren’t going the greatest. Things just seems to slide off his back and he has a “next play” attitude. This can be contagious. Finally, the 3rd certainty is that UND has 2 good, young freshman QBs moving forward who will only improve and will battle for the starting job along the way to make each other better. This thing is far from settled. Both seem to be big competitors. Their best football is yet to come.
- The offensive line play on Saturday seemed much more organized and execution was much better, specifically in the pass protection where they only allowed 1 sack. Devin Barton did a great job at left tackle and it looked as though Kleason had the line all on the same page with calls and checks etc. Obviously still a lot of room for improvement here, specifically in the run game, but an improvement from previous weeks nonetheless. One concern is that Joe Kleason left the game in the 4th quarter and did not return. We do not know the extent of the injury at this time and hope he is ready to go for the final 2 games.
- Kenny Golladay showed what type of talent he has and what he is capable of if given the opportunity. He showed great hands and concentration on a few catches against the NAU secondary. The 6-5 sophomore from Chicago caught a school record 17 balls for 134 yards and 4 TDs. Kenny is starting to show some leadership qualities on the field as well. He played a great game.
- Greg Hardin finished with a “just another day at the office” effort with 8 catches for 118 yards and was the victim of some underthrown deep balls where he had his defender beat downfield. A couple of them did result in pass interference penalties and 1st downs.
- Defensively, UND regressed to their old ways in this game. Their much-improved play along the line of scrimmage did not make it’s way down to Flagstaff on Saturday. Gap integrity was poor and as we talked about in our writeup, the cutback lanes for Zach Bauman would be the key to the game. The lanes were big and were available for Bauman far too much.
- Countless times a UND defender missed the one-on-one tackle in the hole as Bauman made his cut. Make a couple of those tackles and it forces a few more punts.
- S Will Lewis gave a valiant effort, finishing the game with 11 tackles and a pass breakup.
- Once again, UND did not force a turnover. -2 in turnover margin to bring their season total to -18. That ranks UND dead last in all of FCS Football.
- The officiating in this game was atrocious. (Disclaimer: it had no bearing on the outcome, whatsover. NAU wins the game no matter what.) There were 21 penalties called and the officials called SIX pass interference penalties and by our estimation, three were actually legit. They also called SIX personal fouls and once again, three were legitimate. After checking the stat box, this reffing crew made ONE ‘judgement’ call (holding) that wasn’t a pass interference or personal foul. All or nothing, apparently.
This week UND plays their last home game of the season. Northern Colorado and their 1-8 record come to the Alerus Center for a game that could ultimately decide the cellar in the Big Sky. UNC did play Montana State pretty tough last weekend, losing 35-28 at home. They outgained the Bobcats and were actually winning midway through the fourth quarter.