As everyone knows, the biggest game in the D1 era is coming up on Saturday for the UND Football team. Their first ever playoff game, their first ever home playoff game, all wrapped into one.
There have been some hot topics and random thoughts floating around the past couple weeks as UND has not played since November 12th.
- The health of the team. UND played 11 straight games this year and was really beaten up by the time the NAU game came around on the 12th. Tom Miller of the Grand Forks Herald just posted a writeup on this topic yesterday. Here is what we know combined with his info:
- WR Luke Stanley has a very good chance of coming back for this game. Stanley had a unique knee issue that required time off. He has now had over two months off. Stanley is big for this offense in that he is their best blocker on the perimeter and can catch the tough balls across the middle. Yet another big frame for Keaton Studsrud to throw to.
- The wildcard is A.J. Stockwell. He injured his shoulder vs. UNC and had to leave the game. He has to be close with these three weeks off. Having Stockwell back would allow Michael Coe to slide back over to right tackle where he did an excellent job this year filling in for the injured Mat Cox. Right now, our guess is only 50/50 chance. If not, Coe would play left tackle and Bryce Blair would play right tackle.
- Studsrud should be good to go. Cannot see a scenario where he isn’t darn near 100%.
- The defense should be intact. DE Austin Cieslak had a shoulder injury as well but that should be better now, enough to keep playing anyway. He was playing through it at the end of the year.
- Coe and OLB Brian Labat both had slight ankle injuries. They will be good to go.
- Fast start for UND. The Hawks have been notorious this year for their slow starts. Typically, that means the offense but for UND it has been the offense and the defense. When breaking down the quarter by quarter scoring it shows how much better UND is in the second half of games.
- First quarter: UND 54 Opp. 62
- Second quarter: UND 93 Opp. 81
- Third quarter: UND 80 Opp. 43
- Fourth quarter: UND 91 Opp. 41
- –First Half = UND 147 Opp. 143
- –Second Half = UND 171 Opp. 84
- Summary: UND’s opponents are averaging 15.5 pts/game in first half. Only getting 7.6 pts/game in the second half.
- There are a couple reasons for this. First, UND is a run-first, we are going to establish the run no matter what, type of team. Well, if the opposing defense makes up their mind that they are not going to let you do that and are good enough to achieve that plan, then UND is going to struggle. Second, the UND defense has a game plan going into every game based on a boatload of hours spent studying the opponents game tape. Unfortunately, some teams come out with different blocking schemes or formations and catch UND off-guard for a quarter or two. (Or they just hit a lot of big plays cause they are good – NAU). But, to their credit, the UND defensive staff huddles up over halftime and figures out the new plan and it has worked every game.
- This week could be one of those weeks where the defensive staff needs to feel out how Richmond is going to use new QB Kevin Johnson. We have a feeling they will max protect by keeping the TE/FB in and blocking back across the formation to get even protection on both sides. However, that means they only send out three guys on routes.
- Richmond has been very good in the first half of games this year, outscoring opponents 185-110.
No recruiting weekend for UND. It is illegal to host a recruiting weekend during the playoffs. So that only leaves next weekend (10th) to host one before Xmas break. Since we think UND is going to win they won’t be hosting a recruiting weekend until January. 🙂