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Junior Greg Hardin posted his fifth 100-yard receiving game of the season in the finale at Northern Colorado, but UND fell a short point of the Bears on the scoreboard.
Northern Colorado edges UND in season finale
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Updated: Friday 11/17/2012 20:55:19 (ET)
by UNDsports.com
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GREELEY, Colo. – In a game that featured some offensive fireworks in the first half, it was big defensive plays by both teams down the stretch that factored into what proved to be a 28-27 victory for Northern Colorado over North Dakota on Saturday at Nottingham Field.

Unfortunately for the visitors, it was the home team that made the last of those big defensive plays, stopping sophomore Jer Garman on a fourth-and-one with under a minute to play to seal the win.
 
Head coach Chris Mussman opted to go for the first down instead of trying a 51-yard field goal from the NC 34-yard line.  Garman could not get past linebacker Herve Tonye-Tonye and cornerback Marcel Gibbons, who teamed up for the game-deciding  stop.

“There was 40 seconds left and I thought we could make the first down and leave no doubt,” Mussman said. “But, we didn’t get the job done – plain and simple. It’s frustrating right now, especially for the seniors. We wanted to get this one for them.”
 
Gibbons, who was one of 18 Bear seniors playing in their final game, also had two fourth-quarter interceptions that snuffed out potential scoring drives by UND. 

While Gibbons was forcing turnovers for NC, it was junior cornerback Chavon Mackey, who helped the UND defense keep its team in the ball game late. Mackey forced and recovered a fumble and also had an interception in that final quarter.

“Our defense made some big stops, came up with some huge plays for us,” Mussman said. “They kept us in the game, but we turned the ball over late, which is something we had not done all year.”
 
The teams combined for 45 first-half points, but could only muster 10 after the break. UND’s lone points came on a 27-yard field goal by Zeb Miller that put his team ahead 27-21. NC quarterback Seth Lobato would engineer what would prove to be the game-winning touchdown drive on the Bears’ next possession, finding Sawyere Monson on a 23-yard scoring strike.

Neither team scored in the fourth quarter that featured four turnovers and a goal-line stand by the UND defense.

Hanson finished 34-for-48 for 382 yards and three touchdowns in what his and 15 of his senior teammates final collegiate games. Junior Greg Hardin added eight catches for 109 yards and a touchdown to etch his name deeper into the UND record books.

He finished the season with 65 catches for 1,145 yards and 14 touchdown receptions. Those 14 receiving scores are tied for the most in a regular season by a UND receiver and his yardage total is the second best output.

The teams traded a trio of touchdowns in the first half, but UND was able to take a 24-21 lead into the locker room thanks to a 27-yard field goal by Miller that came with three seconds left.

Hanson completed 21-of-28 passes in the first half for 275 yards.  He did throw a first-quarter interception, but the Bears could not convert the only miscue of the half by either team into points. 

Hanson’s first scoring toss went to Hardin from 24 yards out to tie the score at 7-7. After Dave Eden missed on a 37-yard field goal attempt for NC following Hanson’s interception, the left-handed signal caller drove UND in for another score. This time Jake Miller took a check-down pass from Hanson and scored from 36 yards out to give the visitors their first lead of the game at 14-7.

Miller finished with 131 yards of total offense, netting 54 yards on the ground and adding career-highs with five receptions for 77 yards.

The Bears would respond with the first of two touchdown runs by Trumaine Dennis. The junior running back would finish the contest with 28 carries for a career-high 222 yards.

In the back-and-forth first half, Hanson would then cap a 12-play, 75-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown strike to classmate Seth Wisthoff. Dennis had a quicker response this time around, racing 67 yards for a touchdown to even things up at 21-21.

The teams would then each punt for the first time in the game before Zeb Miller provided the 3-point cushion at halftime.

Eden missed from 49 yards out on the Bears’ opening possession of the second half, but UND could only net Miller’s second 27-yard field goal on its first drive to move ahead 27-21.

Game Notes: Ian McGurran, Ross Brenneman, Erik Mersereau and Ethan Magstadt served as game captains … McGurran made his 44th consecutive start at center … The Fargo, N.D., native started every game of his collegiate career as his class finished with a 22-22 all-time record … The last time UND lost by a point was a 22-21 setback to Cal Poly at home in 2010 … Hanson’s 382-yard passing effort is the seventh-highest single game total in UND history – he set the top mark earlier this season with a 660-yard output vs. Montana … Hanson completed 68.2 percent of his passes (161-for-237; 1964 yards, 15 TDs) on the season to post the fourth best single-season completion percentage in school history … The left-hander teamed with fellow fifth-year senior Marcus Hendrickson to post the first 3,000-yard passing yardage season in school history (3,268) … Hardin registered his fifth 100-yard receiving game of the season, finishing with eight catches for 109  yards … His first-quarter touchdown reception was his 14th of the season, tying Weston Dressler’s regular season school record (2006) … He also added a 41-yard kickoff return to move his season total of all-purpose yardage to 1,668, which is the fifth-highest total in school history … Hardin also moved into second place in the UND record books for regular-season receiving yardage total after finishing with 65 catches for 1,145 yards … Hardin’s 15 total touchdowns are tied for the fourth most in a UND regular season … With 394 passing attempts, a UND offense attempted more passes than rushes (349) for the first time in program history … Junior Chavon Mackey picked off his second pass of the season in the fourth quarter and also added his first forced fumble and fumble recovery in the last stanza … Mackey also shared team-high honors with seven tackles … Junior Jake Miller had 131 yards of total offense before leaving in the third quarter with an injury … Miller posted career highs of five receptions for 77 yards to go with 54 rushing yards … He also added a 36-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter, giving him three total touchdowns of the season … Ironically, all three touchdowns came from 36 yards out … Junior Zeb Miller made a pair of 27-yard field goals to finish the season 12-for-14 … Miller made his last seven attempts of the season. 

-- Go UND --

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