The student news site of University of North Dakota

Dakota Student

The student news site of University of North Dakota

Dakota Student

The student news site of University of North Dakota

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North Dakota Drops on Road

Isaac Newton famously said, “What goes up must come down.” The UND Football team experienced that firsthand this past Saturday. 

Following last weekend’s electrifying defeat of NDSU, the Fighting Hawks traveled over 500 miles to play the Northern Iowa Panthers as conference play rolls on in the MVFC. 

After forcing a three-and-out on the opening drive, the North Dakota offense took the field looking to get off to a strong start. The Hawks were moving down the field and approaching the redzone when Tommy Schuster (Sr.) and Isaiah Smith (Sr.) had a missed exchange on what seemed to be an RPO.  

The Panthers recovered the loose ball and would turn around and go 65-yards in 7 plays for the game’s first score. 

In the following drive, the Hawks once again found themselves in Panther territory. UND stalled out near midfield and elected to punt back to the Panthers. 

After a UNI field goal, UND was trailing 10-0. The Fighting Hawks marched all the way down to UNI 8, facing a critical 3rd down. The Panther defense came up with a sack, pushing the Hawks back to the 17-yard line. CJ Elrichs (Rs. Fr.) missed the 34-yard field goal. 

UNI took that momentum and ran with it. Wide receiver Sergio Morancy leaked past the Fighting Hawk defense, and quarterback Theo Day connected with him for a 70-yard touchdown pass. The Panthers led 17-0 at the half. 

Coming out of the half, the Hawks needed to get on the board. The offense went three-and-out and punted back to the Panthers.  

UNI would go on a 75-yard drive that would effectively end the game. The drive included a healthy balance of chunk plays of both throwing and passing, ending in a 2-yard touchdown pass to wideout Brady McCullough, giving the Panthers a 24-0 lead early in the second half. 

The two sides would exchange punts for the remainder of the quarter. On the first play of the fourth quarter, Tommy Schuster found Caden Dennis (So.) for a 50-yard completion, and the Hawks were showing signs of life. 

Needing a touchdown, OC Danny Freund had no choice but to try and convert a 4th and goal at the UNI five. Schuster tried to find standout receiver Bo Belquist (Sr.) on the crucial play, but the pass got broken up by a Panther defender, ending the Hawks drive. 

Nearing the end of the game, having to push the ball down the field, Schuster threw his first interception of the season to a UNI defender. 

Schuster completed 17 of his 28 passes, racking up 164-yards through the air and throwing an interception. Schuster lost a fumble as well. 

Gaven Ziebarth (So.) had 4 carries for 28-yards, Luke Skokna (Sr.) turned in 5 carries for 23-yards, and Isaiah Smith ran 4 times for 12-yards. 

Caden Dennis hauled in 2 catches for 70-yards, and Bo Belquist had 4 catches for 28-yards for the Hawks. 

Northern Iowa running back Amauri Pesek-Hickson dominated the ground game, gaining 180-yards and a score on 33 carries. Panther quarterback Theo Day only completed 13 of his 22 throws, but those 13 completions gave the home team 239-yards and two touchdowns. 

The balanced attack from the Panthers, paired with the Hawks not capitalizing on opportunities to score gave UNI a 27-0 victory against UND. 

The Panthers improved to 4-3 overall and 3-1 in the MVFC. 

The Fighting Hawks dropped to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in conference play. UND will return to the Alerus Center next weekend to face off against the 0-7 Indiana State Sycamores. UND sits at fifth in the MVFC standings following this week’s loss. 

 

Garrett Webber is a Dakota Student General Reporter. He can be reached at [email protected] 

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