The UND Football team gave the raucous home crowd many things to cheer about on Saturday. Unfortunately, a few mistakes cost them in the second half and the Richmond Spider took advantage to escape the Alerus Center with a 27-24 second round playoff victory. The loss ended UND’s season. Their 9-3 record was the best in the D1 era.
The game was extremely entertaining from beginning to end from a fan point of view. A lot of big plays and questionable calls/non-calls. All the things you want from a playoff game.
- Total Yards: UND 324 Richmond 378.
- Richmond had plays of 79, 54, and 54 yards (187 yards). They ran 54 more plays for 191 yards.
- QB Keaton Studsrud was pretty solid all game, IMO. He was 13-26 for 211 yards and 2 TD’s. However, I would estimate that his young WR’s dropped between 5-8 balls that should have been caught. This is the playoffs now, those need to be caught.
- The offensive line played pretty well for the most part other than a couple time where they got beat up the middle for a sack.
- Brady Oliveira (12-64-1 TD) was the more effective RB in this game because of the style of defense that Richmond played. They spread out in their 3-3-5 and allow you to hammer it up in there, which UND did effectively at times with Oliveira. John Santiago (18-59) had trouble getting going because he is a bounce-it type of RB and that doesn’t jive vs. Richmond.
- Richmond was only 4-13 on third downs but they converted the one that UND fans will probably remember for a long time. The long bomb to Tyler Wilkins on 3rd and 14 somehow connected as Wilkins and Torrey Hunt both went up for it. Wilkins made a great play by outdueling Hunt for the ball and setting up Richmond for the eventual game winning field goal.
- Richmond changed their play on that long bomb to Wilkins after the false start penalty previously. They were going to run a tunnel screen but on 3rd and 14 decided to max protect and heave it deep. Wish they had ran the screen.
- The running into the punter penalty was a tough one for UND. They were actually in a ‘punt-safe’ look and Carter Wilson brought light pressure from his defensive end position but got too close to the punter, D.J. Helkowski, and bumped into his leg. It was only a 5 yard penalty but since it was 4th and 1, that meant first down Spiders. They then proceeded to march down the field and score a TD to make it 24-14.
- Another play that really hurt UND right before that was the reverse to Demun Mercer on 1st and 10 from the Richmond 31, up 24-7. UND had just scored prior and was going to pretty much ice the game with a TD or get a field goal, at worst. Instead, Mercer got tackled for a 7 yard loss and UND never got closer than the 36 yard line, which is out of Reid Taubenheim’s range. Have to think what might have been in that situation.
- The punt that got blocked by Richmond resulted in three points. The defense held them to a field goal but that was a quick possession that enabled their comeback to happen. UND fans know about that as The Hawks did the same thing to USD and NAU with interceptions.
- The play before the punt block: 3rd and 3 and Studsrud dropped back but #98 Winston Craig beat Grant Aplin up the middle so Keaton couldn’t see Demun Mercer wide open in the flat for a first down and then some. Little things.
- When breaking down the punt block it appears UND simply whiffed on a number of levels up front. They missed #59 at the line of scrimmage and also the personal protectors in front of Austin Dussold let #81 shoot right between them, which should be impossible. The sad thing is even if #81 missed the punt block, #59 would have blocked it. Just a bad scenario all around.
- The UND defense did not force one turnover all game. Very uncharacteristic of them and it definitely played a major part in them losing this game. The UND punt team did recover one muffed punt by Richmond.
- If you want to simplify it, UND lost two games to CAA teams this year and got beat in the special teams game by both.
- UND lost three games by a total of 8 points in 2016. 8 points.
It was a tough pill to swallow for UND fans and a game that will be remembered for a while. We will have some season thoughts coming up soon as it was a historic 2016 season for the Fighting Hawks.
UND will be resuming their recruiting this weekend with a bunch of visitors. They currently sit at 11 commits, which can be seen on our homepage, right side bar.
–Feature Photo Courtesy: Conor Knuteson, UNDsports.com