GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- North Dakota racked up a school-record 653 yards of total offense, with 370 coming on the ground, and rolled to a 66-0 win over South Dakota Mines in the 2012 season opener at the Alerus Center.
UND's yardage total toppled a 38-year old record, while its 66 points represented its highest scoring output in a season opener.
Junior running back Jake Miller paced the ground attack with 178 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Backfield mates P.J. Sparks (12-97-1), Mitch Sutton (8-61-2) and Adam Shaugabay (10-51-1) also contributed to a running game that averaged a robust 7.7 yards per carry.
Fifth-year transfer Braden Hanson, making his first collegiate start, completed 13-of-14 passes for 188 yards and a pair of scoring strikes before leaving with an injury in the second quarter. The only throw the left-hander missed on was a throw away.
Senior Marcus Hendrickson went the rest of the way in relief of Hanson and completed 5-of-6 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
UND was equally dominant on the defensive side of the ball en route to pitching its second straight shutout in a season opener. The Hardrockers managed just 142 yards of total offense and 1.3 yards per play.
Senior Seth Wisthoff opened the scoring by hauling in his first collegiate touchdown reception from 14 yards out. Hanson then found Jackson on a crossing route for his next scoring pass, but the rookie wideout had to fall on his own fumble in the end zone to secure his first collegiate score.
Hanson would engineer 24 points in his four drives on the night as he opened the game connecting on his first eight passes.
Sutton scored from 1-yard out on the next possession to make it a 31-0 lead for the home team. Hendrickson would add his first two passing touchdowns of his career before the half ended to cap a 31-point outburst in the second quarter.
His first was a 44-yard pitch-and-catch to Hardin, who had his fifth 100-yard receiving game of his career. Hendrickson capped the scoring with an 11-yard strike to junior Blair Townsend.
The second half was much of the same for both the UND offense and a stirng defensive unit. Miller found the end zone on a 36-yard rush for the 17th time of his career for the lone score in the third quarter. Sparks then tallied his first career points on a 2-yard run before Shaugabay ended the route with a 21-yard scamper.
Middle linebackers Garrison Goodman and Ben Peters paced a defense, which allowed only nine first downs, including three in the first half, with five tackles a piece. Goodman also recovered a fumble, which was the lone turnover in the game.
UND (1-0) hosts Portland State next Saturday at the Alerus Center with a 6:05 p.m. Central kickoff.
- Game captains were seniors Ross Brenneman, Ian McGurran, Caleb Gillson and Seth Nichols
- Senior tight end Seth Wisthoff scored his first career touchdown on a 14-yard reception from Braden Hanson, which was the left-hander's first collegiate scoring strike as well.
- Hanson completed the first eight passes of the game, finishing 13-for-14 (92.8 percentage) for 188 yards and two touchdowns.
- Senior Marcus Hendrickson's first pass of the season went for a 44-yard touchdown to Greg Hardin. The scoring strike was also the first of his collegiate career.
- Hardin finished the game with three receptions for 103 yards, marking his fifth career 100-yard receiving game. The receiving score was the 13th of his career (14 total).
- Junior Jake Miller rushed 12 times for 178 yards (three shy of his all-time high) and his 36-yard touchdown run was the 17th of his career (18 total).
- Redshirt freshman P.J. Sparks rushed 12 times for 97 yards and a touchdown in his first collegiate game. He had the longest play of the game from scrimmage with a 45-yard run.
- The shutout was the second straight and 41st all-time in a season opener by UND.
- The 66 points are the tied for the sixth most in school history and most since 1972.
- The 653 yards of total offense broke a school single-game record.
- The 66-point victory in a season opener was also the highest margin of victory in a season opener by a UND squad (63-0 victory in 1995 at Bemidji State was the previous high)
- The previous high for most points in a home opener came in a 59-0 victory over Humboldt State in 2007.