UND’s Playoff Loss Ends Season

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.capture


  • 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


8 Responses

  1. UND Football

    “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.”

    This is a play that will live in infamy. It literally sucked the energy right out of the building. Absolute cold-blooded play by Richmond.

    Oh well, UND had a tremendous 2016 season. Thank you to all the seniors who helped move this program from the bottom to the top of the Big Sky Conference!

    I expect bigger and better things in 2017! Many playoff wins, hopefully; perhaps even the big one. This should be the goal, anyways.

    Leave No Doubt x2 !!!

  2. Bill

    3 losses by 8 combined points doesn’t mean much when we won 2 by a combined 5 points. Hope that choke job doesn’t hurt us in the long run. This year was set up for us to make a run and it didn’t happen.

  3. Sioux46

    a. Of our injured players who returned for the game, was the offensive line helped out by the rest?

    B. Did UND try to stretch the field? It seems to me that during the year our inability to make teams respect the long pass allowed them to play our run game more aggressively than normal.

    C. Next year we, again, don’t get a bye till after the regular season. What’s with that?

    d. Two years from now we open at Washington, ouch, and the very next week are on the road at Sam Houston State. Aggressive scheduling! We could be 0-2 before the season’s barely started.

    1. A – The offensive line was helped out but Stockwell did not play. They played OK other than getting beat on the interior a couple plays.
      B – No they didn’t. Richmond sits back in a zone most the game, doesn’t make sense to try and throw into it with our type of slower WR’s.
      C – No idea.
      D – Yah, not easy at all.

  4. Thomas

    You are going easy on the offense and Rudolph’s play calling in the second half. Spread it out and threw it way too much. We needed to try to grind down Richmond in the second half with a 24-14 lead, and instead we spread it out and started throwing more and more. Barely took any time off the clock, allowing Richmond to keep coming and coming.
    I would also suggest Studsrud had an acceptable game at best. The WR’s did have some drops, but he also failed to deliver the ball in the correct location a few times, leading to those drops.
    A bitter loss, but already excited for next year.

  5. Sioux46

    a. Part of the problem with the quarterback/receiver timing, throwing behind or to far in front of the receivers and the receivers having the dropsies could be a little rust from the three weeks off.

    b. Did UND throw on first down off of play action, or otherwise, at all? I thought going in they were a wee bit too predictable

  6. Sioux46

    It would be nice if the three of you would put your heads together and let us know how you see next year going and what weaknesses need addressing. Bubba already spoke to this, a little, by saying he thinks the O line needs to be more physical and the deep secondary gave up too many deep catches. He also mentioned a need to recruit a quarterback.

  7. Dustin

    All I know is that the worst part of the trip to NYC was watching the football team lose on my iPad during the hockey game. A loss to E. Washington on the road would have been a much easier pill to swallow. Too bad they couldn’t prove any of the doubters wrong.

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