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The student news site of University of North Dakota

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Hawks Lose Border Battle

Hawks+Lose+Border+Battle
Laura Schweigert

The Fighting Hawks returned the opening kick to the endzone for the second time this season. Unfortunately for UND, this game would not reflect the last time that happened. 

UND lined up against the South Dakota Coyotes this past Saturday in a top ten battle. The Hawks came into the heavyweight 6-3, and the Coyotes came in 7-2. 

Red Wilson (Sr.) received the opening kick and took it 99-yards to the house, reminding Fighting Hawks fans of Luke Skokna’s (Sr.) epic house calls to start the game against NDSU a few weeks prior. 

Following the hot start from special teams, the UND defense kept the momentum rolling, forcing the Coyotes to punt on their opening drive. 

The Fighting Hawk offense was rolling to start their first offensive possession and were sitting at the South Dakota 30-yard line when an errant Tommy Schuster (Sr.) pass was intercepted by a Coyote defender. 

The Coyotes took the ball all the way to the other end of the field and found themselves in a 4th and 2. Looking to regain the momentum, South Dakota elected to go for the conversion. The Coyotes handed the ball to their running back, who was stuffed before getting the first, giving UND possession of the ball. 

Nearing the end of the first half, USD receiver Carter Bell dodged a few defenders and was approaching the endzone for a 64-yard touchdown reception when UND linebacker Wyatt Pedigo (Jr.) hunted Bell down, miraculously stripped the ball, and recovered it in the endzone. 

UND capitalized on Pedigo’s heroics with a field goal to end the first half, taking a 10-0 lead. 

South Dakota got the ball to start the second half and began to march down the field. Inside the UND 10-yard line, the Coyotes were primed to get on the board. That was until Devin Hembry (Sr.) intercepted a Coyote pass in the endzone to give the ball back to the Hawks. 

UND was unable to build further separation from the Coyotes and went three-and-out on the following drive.  

The Coyotes began to drive again, and this time would not be denied. A five play, 49-yard drive ended with a 2-yard touchdown run, and the Coyotes were within a score. 

On the following drive, Schuster led offense and got into Coyote territory when Isaiah Smith (Jr.) ripped a 19-yard run to the USD 24-yard line. Things were looking up for the Hawks. 

In need of a big play, South Dakota drew up a corner blitz that caught the UND offensive line off guard, and Schuster as well. Schuster was sacked for a nine-yard loss. Those nine proved to be consequential, when CJ Elrichs (Rs. Fr.) missed a 42-yard field goal for the Hawks, giving USD the ball. 

After the two sides exchanged punts, South Dakota was looking to take the lead. The Coyotes would do just that, with a 12-play, 81-yard drive, ending in a 10-yard jet sweep to receiver Charles Pierre Jr. with the touchdown, USD led 14-10 with under 10 minutes to play. 

UND would punt, get the ball back, and turn the ball over on downs, ending their hopes for a road upset. South Dakota defeated North Dakota with a score of 14-10. 

Schuster completed 16 of his 24 passes for 116-yards and threw for one interception. 

Smith had 10 carries for 58-yards. Gaven Ziebarth (So.) began to return to the UND backfield, taking 7 carries for 31-yards. 

Smith and Bo Belquist (Sr.) both had 4 receptions for the Hawks, with Smith turning in 26-yards, and Belquist having 13. Red Wilson caught 2 passes for 26-yards. 

After the loss, the Fighting Hawks are at 6-4 overall and 4-3 in MVFC play and sit in the fourth spot in conference standings. UND will look to close out the regular season with a win against the Illinois State Redbirds (6-4, 4-3) in the Alerus Center this Saturday at 1:00 pm. 

 

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

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