UND vs. UNC Game Notes
Big Sky Game Notes
Grand Forks, N.D. - There are gridiron series that date back a lot further than the North Dakota-Northern Colorado one but this matchup of former Division II and North Central Conference foes has been about as even as any across the country at any level of football since the first game was played in Greeley in 1980.
Saturday's Senior Day tilt and Big Sky matchup with the Bears will be the final one for 17 seniors, who have played twice in this series with each team winning once by less than two points.
Those down-to-the wire contests are only fitting when you consider these two teams have played 25 times and 15 of those have been decided by single digits.
UNC broke a 12-12 tie in the series last season in Greeley with a 28-27 victory. The point totals for both teams coming into that contest in the 24 previous matchups was dead even at 527 and now stands with UNC holding the slightest of edges at 555-554.
It's just one of several remarkable statistics in the series that UND will look to even back up on Saturday at the Alerus Center. Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m. CT.
• Seventeen seniors will be playing their final home game for the North Dakota football team on Saturday vs. Northern Colorado.
• Northern Colorado moved ahead in the all-time series 13-12 with a dramatic, yet controversial, 28-27 victory over UND in Greeley last season. UNC stopped the visitors on a fourth-and-one late in the contest with the Green and White driving for a chance at the go-ahead score. The Bears stopped Jer Garman short of the line to gain with less than a minute to play, but did so with 12 players on the field. No penalty was called at the time, but the Big Sky admitted through an official letter a call should have been made.
• These two teams are old Division II rivals and have only met twice as Division I foes. Those contests have both been played in Greeley over the last two seasons with UND winning 27-25 in 2011 when Zeb Miller hit a career-long, 54-yard field goal with just over two minutes to play. UNC avenged that loss with last year’s nail-biting finish, holding on for the one-point victory in the first Big Sky matchup between the two teams.
• The last time Northern Colorado played in Grand Forks, UND won the North Central Conference tilt 13-7 during the team’s run to the Division II national title in 2001.
• In the 25 games in the series, the outcome has been decided by single digits on 15 occasions, including two one-point affairs and three two-point affairs. Total points scored are 555 for UNC and 554 for UND in the previous meetings.
• UNC head coach Earnest Collins is 1-1 against UND as a head coach and 2-1 against the Green and White as a player. Collins was an All-North Central Conference performer in 1994 and was a freshman when the 1991 game was postponed due to a winter storm.
LIVE FROM GRAND FORKS
TV: Midco Sports Channel 323
Video: Watch Big Sky (www.WatchBigSky.com - FREE webcast)
Radio: 96.1 FM — Grand Forks — Pregame at 12 p.m. CT
Audio: UND Radio Network broadcast also available at www.UNDSports.com
Chat: Chat live at www.UNDSports.com
Stats: Live stats available at www.UNDSports.com
Twitter: For live scoring updates and game notes follow @UNDFootball
NEXT OPPONENT: NORTHERN COLORADO
Northern Colorado returns to Grand Forks for the first time since suffering a 13-7 loss during UND’s Division II national title season in 2001. The Bears have lost eight straight since opening the season with a 31-10 victory over Langston, but nearly pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the Big Sky season last Saturday. UNC held a 28-27 lead on No. 4 Montana State midway through the fourth quarter, but the Bobcats were able to find the end zone for the eventual game-winning score.
Head coach Earnest Collins is in his third season at the helm of the Bears, who just hired a new athletics director this week in Darren Dunn. Dunn was the deputy director of athletics at the University of Houston and will start his new position the first week of January.
The last two meetings between UND and UNC have been decided by two points or less (27-25 win by UND in 2011 and a 28-27 win by UNC in 2012). Running back Tromaine Dennis rushed for a career-high 222 yards and two touchdowns in last year’s triumph. Dennis leads the team with 569 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns in 2013.
Senior quarterback Seth Lobato surpassed the 2,000-yard passing mark for third straight season in last week’s loss to Montana State.
SENIOR DAY SALUTE
The North Dakota football program will honor 17 seniors in a brief pre-game ceremony before Saturday’s home finale with Northern Colorado. These 17 seniors hail from eight different states ranging from Florida to California and several spots in between. There are nine defensive players, seven offensive players and one specialst in this group that was has won 19 games over the last three-plus seasons and was part of a 2011 squad that shared the Great West Conference title.
Here is a look at those 17 seniors and some career highlights:
46 Dominique Bennett (LB, Desoto, Texas) ... Registered his 100th career tackle at NAU this past Saturday ... Has 13 sacks for his career and leads team with a career-high five in 2013.
76 Darren DeNeui (OL, Chancellor, S.D.) ... Saturday’s start will be the 30th of his career with 19 of those at left tackle and 11 at right tackle (10 straight this season).
34 Cordero Finley (LB, Kenosha, Wis.) ... Will be making his 40th appearance in a UND uniform on Senior Day ... 81 career tackles and 5.5 career sacks.
29 Derrick Goard (LB, Homewood, Ill.) ... Key reserve at middle linebacker in two seasons at UND ... Totaled 47 tackles in 20 career games.
53 Garrison Goodman (LB, San Ramon, Calif.) ... One of two permanent teams captains, active co-leader with 156 career tackles and has a team-high 58 in 2013.
26 Chris Hall (DB, Jacksonville, Fla.) ... Appeared in 40 career games, including 10 starts at cornerback ... 78 career tackles and two INTs, including one pick-six.
84 Greg Hardin (WR, Bellevue, Neb.) ... Needs two catches to become second UND and first in regular season play with 200 career catches ... Also needs 74 receiving yards to become UND’s all-time leading receiver in all games (3,309).
99 Jake Hoerchner (OL/TE, Menomonee Falls, Wis.) ... Making 29th career appearance ... Split time between offensive line and tight end the past two seasons.
62 Joe Kleason (OL, Eagan, Minn.) ... Accumulated 32 career starts at four different spots along the O-Line (left guard, 22; right tackle, 1; left tackle, 9; and center, 1).
7 Will Lewis (Pittsburg, Calif.) ... Appeared in 16 games over the last two seasons and started the last three ... Registered 58 total tackles, including two double-digit efforts in 2013.
17 Chavon Mackey (DB, Jacksonville, Fla.) ... Making 41st appearance and 22nd career start ... Team’s active co-leader with 156 career tackles, four career INTs.
3 Jake Miller (RB, Bismarck, N.D.) ... Surpassed 2,000-yard rushing mark for his career earlier this season (2,106) ... 23 career rushing TDs is tied for fifth all-time at UND.
11 Zeb Miller (PK, Ankeny, Iowa) ... 42 career field goals in 42 career games is fifth most in UND history ... Never missed a start in four-year career.
57 Brian Otto (LB, West Allis, Wis.) ... Appeared in 33 career games with seven starts at middle linebacker ... Registered 51 career tackles.
85 Seth Stanchik (DL, Hudson, Wis.) ... Came back from a leg injury as a sophomore to appear in 26 career games and make 30 tackles ... Earned first seven starts season.
86 Blair Townsend (WR, Coon Rapids, Minn.) ... One of two permanent team captains ... 64 career receptions for 679 yards and five TDs.
92 E.J. Welch (DL, Biwabik, Minn.) ... An injury has limited to three games this season ... Made 12 appearances in his career and made eight tackles.
SENIOR DAY SEND OFF
Senior Greg Hardin is poised to set two UND career records in what will be his final home game at the Alerus Center on Saturday vs. Northern Colorado. Hardin needs just two catches to set the regular season record for career receptions and 74 yards to set the all-time record for career receiving yards. Current Saskatchewan Roughrider Weston Dressler holds both of those marks at 199 and 3,382, respectively.
Hardin moved within striking distance of those totals thanks to an eight-catch, 118-yard effort at Northern Arizona this past Saturday. It was the 14th career 100-yard receiving game of his career and fifth this season. Hardin is averaging 97.7 yards per game in 2013 despite being held without a catch vs. Montana State (Sept. 28). That average ranks 10th in the FCS and third in the Big Sky. In 40 career games, that was the only time he did not finish with at least one reception.
Dressler finished his career, which included 11 Division II playoff games, with 3,382 receiving yards. Hardin set the regular season mark at Idaho State (Oct. 5) and enters the UNC game with 3,309 career receiving yards.
Hardin currently leads the Big Sky in all-purpose yardage, averaging 183.9 ypg and has accumulated at least 100 all-purpose yards in each game this season. Hardin’s average is the fourth best in the FCS and with 310 more all-purpose yards would become just the third player in UND history to amass 5,000 in regular season play.
The Bellevue, Neb., native has 776 kickoff return yards, 879 receiving yards and 10 rushing yards to bring his season total to 1,665. UND’s single-season record for all-purpose yards is 1,949 set by Ryan Chappel in 2007.
GO-GO GOLLADAY HONORED BY CFPA
Sophomore Kenny Golladay had no idea he had broken a UND single-game record with 16 receptions for 123 yards last Saturday at Northern Arizona. He said he would have taken the win over the record, but his impressive feat earned him College Football Performance Awards National Wide Receiver of the Week. Golladay broke the old record of 15, which was held by three different former UND receivers. The latest with 15 catches was Weston Dressler, who had that total in a 2006 game at Nebraska-Omaha. Golladay also broke a UND regular season single-game record with four touchdown receptions. Nine different times had a UND receiver caught three touchdown passes in a regular season game, but never four. Senior Greg Hardin has four of those three-touchdown games to his credit. Jesse Smith had the only game with four receiving touchdowns, doing so in the playoff run for the 2001 Division II national title vs. Winona State. Golladay’s 17 receptions are the most by a FCS receiver this season and tied for the fourth most by a Big Sky receiver in league history.
For the season, Golladay now has 58 receptions for 680 yards and six touchdowns.He has four 100-yard receiving games to his credit. With two games remaining, the Chicago native should end up in UND’s top 10 regular season list for single-season receptions. Golladay ranks third in the Big Sky with 6.4 rpg. Greg Hardin owns the 10th-spot on that list with the 65 receptions he corralled in 2012. Hardin is second on the team behind Golladay with 49 receptions this season.
BARTELS NABS NATIONAL HONOR
Sports Network officials named North Dakota quarterback Ryan Bartels their co-National Freshman of the Week on Monday. Bartels shared the honor with Youngstown State running back Martin Ruiz. Bartels came off the bench and threw for a UND freshman record 367 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-27 loss to No. 14 Northern Arizona on Saturday. All four of his touchdown passes went to sophomore Kenny Golladay, who set the UND single-game record with 16 receptions. Bartels also completed a school freshman record 39 passes on 59 attempts in the contest. For Bartels, it was his first action since the Montana State game on Sept. 28. His completion and touchdowns totals in just over three quarters of work at the Walkup Skydome exceeded his season totals from two starts and two relief appearances in UND’s first four games (29-for-49, two touchdowns).
BENNETT REACHES CENTURY MARK
Senior linebacker Dominique Bennett registered the 100th tackle of his career at Northern Arizona (Nov. 2). Of that century total, 20.5 have gone for a loss and Bennett is a half-sack away from entering UND’s top 10 list for that category. He has a career-high and team-best five on the season and 13 for his career. He is currently fourth on the team this season with a career-high 44 tackles.
HOME RUN HARDIN
Senior Greg Hardin has racked up more than 4,500 all-purpose yards in his UND career and nearly 500 of those have come on plays of 80 yards or longer. On UND’s second possession of the Portland State game on Oct. 5, Hardin took a quick pass from redshirt freshman Joe Mollberg, used a great block from wideout Kenny Golladay and raced 80 yards past the Viking defense for the 30th receiving touchdown of his career - a total that is tied for second among active FCS receivers. The 80-yard catch-and-run was the sixth play of his career that went for 80 or more yards (three receptions, three kick off returns). Hardin also ranks fourth among FCS players with 190 career catches - a total that moved him into sole possession on UND’s all-time charts as well for all games (includes UND’s Division II playoff era).
MAGIC CARPET RIDE
• UND is 67-18 in 12 seasons at the Alerus Center, including a 10-0 mark in the Division II playoffs. UND has gone undefeated in the building during a season three times (2003, 2004 and 2006).
• Head coach Chris Mussman is 21-13 all-time at UND’s home facility and improved to 4-0 in season openers at the Alerus thanks to the 69-10 victory over Valparaiso last Thursday.
• In those 21 home wins under Mussman’s guidance, UND is averaging 39.4 ppg and the team is 18-1 at home when scoring 30 or more points. The only setback occurred last season when Northern Arizona defeated UND 45-38 on Oct. 13.
As the season has progressed, the North Dakota defense is showing signs of improving on a consistent basis. After yielding a combined 1,667 yards of total offense (555.6 ypg/51.0 ppg) in losses to ranked foes South Dakota State (455), Montana (609) and Montana State (603), the defense has only allowed 2,028 yards (405.6 ypg/30.6 ppg) in its last five games. Two games ago, UND’s defense held Portland State to a season-low 14 points in Big Sky play and the Vikings were scoreless through three quarters.
GOODMAN ANCHORS D
Senior Garrison Goodman has led or shared the team lead in four of his eigth games this season. Despite missing the Montana game (Sept. 14), Goodman leads the team in tackles at 58 and has twice reached double figures in games this season (12 vs. Montana State and 10 vs. Sacramento State).
HONORARY GAME CAPTAIN
Former running back Phillip Moore (1995-98) will serve as the honorary game captain for Saturday’s Senior Day tilt with Northern Colorado. Moore is UND’s regular season career leader in rushing attempts (1,060), rushing yards (5,467), rushing touchdowns (50) and total touchdowns (51). He also holds single-season records for rushing attempts (315) and rushing yards (1,771). Moore’s final collegiate game was against Northern Colorado in the 1998 Division II playoffs. He rushed for 155 yards that day and had 227 rushing yards in two career playoff appearances.
The numbers are down a bit from the previous seasons, but the North Dakota special teams unit has been one of the top-kick blocking groups in the FSC since moving up the Division I level in 2008. Redshirt freshman Mike Edwards picked up his second of the season by blocking an extra-point against Sacramento State (Oct. 19) and Ben Henson netted the first of his career at Portland State (Oct. 26) to bring UND’s season total to three. Edwards has two blocks on the season and the UND special teams unit has blocked 36 over the past five-plus seasons. Junior center Shea Walker is the team’s active career leader with five, while senior linebacker Cordero Finley has three.
Senior Jake Miller suffered a shoulder injury in the first half of the Northern Arizona game and his status for the remainder of the season is questionable. Miller is currently tied for fifth all-time at UND with 23 career rushing touchdowns, including five this season. He surpassed the 2,000-yard rushing plateau for his career in the win at Idaho State. Through 41 career regular season games, Miller’s rushing total is at 2,106 yards, which is 94 yards from UND’s top 10 list in that category.
KUKSA OUT FOR THE SEASON
Head coach Chris Mussman announced last week that freshman safety Cam Kuksa would be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a neck injury. The injury occurred at Portland State last week - a game that Kuksa finished with a career-high 13 tackles. Kuksa was inserted into the starting lineup four games ago and totalled 33 tackles in those starts. Kuksa, who missed the opener, moved up to second on the team in total tackles with that performance at PSU. Kuksa was the only true freshman to start a game for UND this season. Fellow classmate Dustin Iverson is the only true freshman playing on offense. The fullback had the first two receptions of his career vs. Sacramento State, netting eight yards on both of those catches. Defensive tackle Marcus Cheatom has earned a spot on the defensive line rotation and has four tackles in seven appearances.
Sophomore Jameer Jackson missed the Northern Arizona game and was limited the week before at Portland State. Jackson still ranks third on the team with 39 receptions for 384 yards and is also third on the team with 86 rushing yards (18 carries).
Sophomore safety Devin Coyle is starting to train for quite the adventure and it’s all for a good cause. Coyle and two of his friends from his hometown of Mandan, N.D. will take some time this summer to bike from North Dakota’s capital of Bismarck all the way to St. Petersburg, Fla. The trio are embarking on the 2,000-mile trek and Bike2Believe Tour to bring awareness and raise support for cancer. Coyle and his friends plan to launch a website to track their progress and collect donations.
RED ZONE SUCCESS
North Dakota has converted 22 of its 25 opportunities inside the opponent’s red zone into points this season. The conversion rate of 88.0 percent is third in the Big Sky and 18th overall in the FCS. Eighteen of those 22 scores have gone for touchdowns. UND was a perfect 14-for-14 through the first four games before coming up empty on its first trip inside the red zone at Idaho State on Oct. 5. UND went 2-for-3 inside the red zone at Northern Arizona in its last outing.
Junior running back Adam Shaugabay has carried the football only 26 times this season, but the Warroad, Minn., native has found the end zone on six of those attempts. Shaugabay’s six rushing touchdowns lead the team. For his career, Shaugabay has eight rushing touchdowns on 48 attempts. His 36 points are tied with Greg Hardin and Kenny Golladay for the second most on the team, trailing only placekicker Zeb Miller for the team lead in that category. Miller has 44 points on six field goals and 26 extra-points.
DOME SWEET DOME
UND will play nine of its 11 games indoors during the 2013 season, including the first seven contests. Five of those will be at the Alerus Center and UND did not play an away game until edging Idaho State 28-25 on Oct. 5. The Bengals play their home games inside as well at Holt Arena. The only two outdoor games on the schedule are an Oct. 26 matchup at Portland State and the regular-season finale at UC Davis on Nov. 16. UND has a road game at Northern Arizona, who also plays their home games indoors at the Walkup Skydome.
North Dakota is averaging a 24.4 points per game through nine contests and has seen each unit on the team score multiple touchdowns. The offense has scored 24 touchdowns, but both the special teams and defense have also found the end zone. The special teams scored twice in the season-opening win over Valpo thanks to a 90-yard kickoff return from Greg Hardin and a 64-yard punt return by Kenny Golladay. Hardin provided the third special teams touchdown of the season at Idaho State with a 99-yard kickoff return. Meanwhile, the defense has found pay dirt twice this season with fumble returns for scores against Montana State and Idaho State.
MILLER ON MITCHELL AWARD WATCH LIST
Senior Zeb Miller was one of 35 placekickers throughout all levels of college football to be honored for his performance both on and off the field during the first two months of the season. Miller, who went 6-for-9 on field goals and 23-for-24 on PATs in UND’s first eight games, is a candidate for the Fred Mitchell Award. The award is given annually to the nation’s top place-kicker based on performance on the field and in the community. Miller has made 42 field goals during his career, which ranks fourth among active players in the FCS and fourth on UND’s all-time career charts.
Senior Greg Hardin and sophomore Kenny Golladay have the UND kickoff and punt return teams ranked near the top of the Big Sky standings through eight games. Hardin is averaging 25.5 yards per kickoff return, which is third in the league. He is one of two Big Sky players and one of eight in the FCS with a pair of kickoff returns for touchdowns this season. Golladay is averaging a league-best 12.8 yards per punt return and had a 64-yard touchdown in the season opener. The 64-yard return by Golladay is the longest in the Big Sky this season.
The North Dakota defense entered the Idaho State game having forced just two turnovers (fumbles) through four games, but the unit doubled that total against the Bengals. The four forced miscues are the most for a UND defense since collecting three interceptions and a fumble in a 2011 (Oct. 29) contest at Northern Colorado.
Senior Chavon Mackey, who was starting at cornerback for the first time this season, collected the first interception of the season for UND in the second quarter and added his second of the game in the third. Mackey only had two interceptions in 35 career games entering the contest. Both of Mackey’s interceptions came just a play and two plays, respectively, following a UND turnover.
Sophomore Dayo Idowu was in on the next two turnovers, picking off Justin Arias in the third quarter, then deflecting a pitch in the fourth quarter that resulted in linebacker Ben Peters falling on the eventual game-winning touchdown in the end zone. For Idowu, the interception and forced fumble were both the first of his career.
FOUR TRUE FRESHMAN SEE ACTION IN 2013
Three true freshmen made their collegiate debuts in the season-opening win over Valparaiso and four total have played in the first seven games. Fullback Dustin Iverson played on special teams and carried the ball twice for three yards vs. Valpo. Defensive tackle Marcus Cheatom also saw action in a reserve role and had two tackle assists. Freshman punter Mitch Meindel made the box score, but for duties other than punting. Meindel only went back to punt once in the opener, but instead of punting, he took off running after an errant snap. Meindel gained a first down on the play after scampering for 17 yards. Freshman safety Cam Kuksa was suspended for the opener for a violation of team rules, but made a solo tackle in his first collegiate action vs. SDSU and added four in the loss to Montana. Kuksa has since started four games and ranks second on the team with 46 tackles.
In the last three seasons, only four UND players have played during their true freshman season: Jake Miller (RB; 2010), R.J McGill (WR; 2010), Jer Garman (RB; 2011) and Kenny Golladay (WR; 2012).
LEE BOHNET HONORED
Longtime UND sports information director Lee Bohnet had the press box at the Alerus Center named after him in a special ceremony held Saturday morning at the current home of UND football. Bohnet, who passed away in 1999 after a long illness, became the first sports information director (SID) in UND history after he was hired by athletic director Glenn “Red” Jarrett in 1953. A World War II veteran, Bohnet worked in the SID role for 35 years until his retirement in 1988. Known for his in-depth researching and undaunted loyalty to the Fighting Sioux, Bohnet is a member of the UND Athletics, College Sports Information Directors of America and North Central Conference Hall of Fames. He wrote the book “A Century of UND Sports”, which chronicled the history of the athletic department’s first 100 years of existence and found no greater joy than when UND defeated its fiercest rivals on the gridiron, court or ice. Bohnet was also the co-creator of the Potato Bowl USA game that has been annual affair for UND since 1966. He will have a plaque placed in the Alerus Center press box to celebrate his legacy as one of the best SIDs in the history of college athletics.
PERMANENT CAPTAINS FOR 2013
Senior linebacker Garrison Goodman and senior wide receiver Blair Townsend were voted permanent team captains for the upcoming 2013 season. Goodman appeared in only seven games a season ago, but still ranked fourth on the team in tackles. Townsend had his most productive season to date, catching 27 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns.
MCGILL TO REDSHIRT
Head coach Chris Mussman announced at the end of fall camp that senior wide receiver R.J. McGill will take his redshirt this season and have one season of eligibility left in 2014. McGill suffered a season-ending knee injury vs. Cal Poly in the fifth game of the 2012 campaign and had to have another minor procedue done to his knee in late August.
WHERE IT RANKED
The UND offense scored its most points since moving to the Division I era in the 69-10 season-opening victory over Valpo. It was also the most points scored by UND since defeating Morningside 69-0 in 1972.
• The 69 points were also the third most scored by a FCS team and most by a Big Sky team during the opening weekend.
• Senior wideout Greg Hardin’s 163 receiving yards were the fourth most among FCS receivers in the opening weekend and his 253 all-purpose yards were the second most.
• Redshirt freshman Ryan Bartels pass efficiency was 259.2, which was tops in the Big Sky and would have been tops in the FCS, but he fell short of the minimum requirement of 15 attempts (10-for-12).
Head coach Chris Mussman has two new coordinators calling plays on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball in 2013. Long-time coordinators Greg Breitbach (offensive) and Mike Mannausua (defensive) left the program following the 2012 season. Breitbach is now the head coach at Millersville (Pa.) University - a Division II institution, while Mannausau took over as the Assistant A.D. and executive director of the Champions Club at UND. Their replacements weren’t hard to find, in fact both were just down the hallway as assistant head coach and linebackers coach Josh Kotelnicki was elevated to defensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Luke Schleusner takes over the reigns as offensive coordinator. Kotelnicki and Schleusner are no strangers to the program as both were key contributors to the 2001 Division II national championship won by UND and both have been on Mussman’s coaching staff. Kotelnicki is entering his eighth season overall on the coaching staff, while Schleusner begins his third. Safeties coach Benny Boyd will take over as the special teams coordinator – a post that Kotelnicki held since the 2008 season.
After landing on The Sports Network All-America Third Team last season (65 catches, 1,145 yards and 15 TDs), senior wide receiver Greg Hardin garnered plenty of preseason accolades and deservedly so. Hardin was on five preseason All-America Teams (Beyond Sports Network, 1st Team; The Sports Network, 2nd Team, Phil Steele’s, 2nd Team WR and KR, USA College Football; 1st Team and College Sports Journal; 2nd Team). Hardin is also one of 41 FCS players on the Senior Bowl watch list for an invite to that prestigious event and College Football Performance Awards officials have him on their watch lists for wide receiver and kickoff returner of the year accolades. Classmate Zeb Miller was named to the CFPA’s watch list for the organization’s Placekicker of the Year Award and is on the Fred Mitchell watch list for a similar honor. He was also named a preseason All-American by Phil Steele’s (3rd Team) and College Sports Journal (Third Team).
NO FBS GAMES IN 2013
After playing at least one game against a FBS opponent in each of the last four seasons, UND will take a one-year break from playing a team from the highest level of college football. The 2013 schedule worked out to where UND will have seven home games, including non-conference games against Valparaiso, South Dakota State and Montana. UND will resume playing FBS teams in 2014 and has at least one of those opponents scheduled through the 2018 season. Three of UND’s last five games against FBS foes have been decided by eight points or less, including a 49-41 loss at San Diego State in 2012.
2014: Sat., Aug. 30 at San Jose State (Mountain West)
2015: Sat., Sept. 5 at Wyoming (Mountain West)
2016: TBA vs. Bowling Green (MAC)
2017: Thur., Aug. 31 at Utah (Pac-12)
2018: Sat., Sept. 15 at Washington (Pac-12)
FCS teams are allowed to play 12 games this season, but UND and Northern Arizona are the only two in the Big Sky that opted to play 11. The remaining 11 league teams all have full schedules. Like UND, NAU is also playing a non-conference game against a Big Sky foe when the Lumberjacks play at UC Davis on Sept. 14.
COACHING STAFF SHUFFLE
With the elevations of Josh Kotelnicki to defensive coordinator and Luke Schleusner to offensive coordinator, head coach Chris Mussman had some openings to fill on his coaching staff. He filled those by hiring Mike Cunningham to coach the offensive line, former UND safety Joel Schwenzfeier to coach the running backs and Truman State graduate Jason Thier to coach the inside linebackers. Cunningham comes to UND after a seven-year stint with Mankato State where he coached the O-line and was also the running game coordinator since 2009. For Schwenzfeier, this is his first collegiate coaching job, while Thier arrived in Grand Forks after two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Montana Western (NAIA). Assistant Coach Kyle Myers was elevated to a full-time post as well prior to spring football and will coach the defensive line after coaching the outside linebackers in 2012.
TOP 50 BIG SKY MOMENTS
The Big Sky Conference is celebrating 50 years of sponsoring men’s collegiate sports this year by selecting the top 50 student-athletes and moments during the league’s first half-century. UND has only been a Big Sky member for just over a year now, but southpaw Braden Hanson managed to put UND on the “Top 50 Moments” list with a jaw-dropping performance in the 40-34 victory over Montana last season. Hanson’s Big Sky record 660-yard passing game came in as the No. 46 moment. The left-handed transfer from North Carolina spent only one season in Grand Forks, but left his name in both the school’s and Big Sky record books. Hanson completed a UND record 42 passes that day and his 660 yards are the most ever by a left-handed quarterback at any level of NCAA Football. The Alerus Center faithful were also treated to a record-setting day by one of Hanson’s receivers as Greg Hardin broke the Big Sky’s single-game receiving record by hauling in 333 yards on 12 receptions. It was also Hardin’s third three-touchdown game of the season.
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UND vs. UNC Game Notes