The North Dakota football team will return home for the final time on its 2013 campaign with a conference matchup against Big Sky foe Northern Colorado.
Saturday’s game at the Alerus Center will be Senior Day as the Green and White prepare to send 17 seniors off its roster.
UND is coming into the game following a four-game losing streak that has left its conference record at 1-5 (2-7 overall) while UNC hasn’t fared much better this season at 0-5 in the Big Sky (1-8 overall). Northern Colorado leads the series against UND, 13-12. However, seven of North Dakota’s wins have come in the Alerus Center.
Both squads come into Saturday’s contest having produced very similar numbers this season. North Dakota has averaged 24.4 points per game while the Bears have managed 21.7 of their own, but UNC’s offense has produced 377.9 total yards of offense per game to the Green and White’s 360. UND and the Bear’s defenses stack up evenly, as both teams have given up 35.1 and 31.7 points per game, respectively.
North Dakota’s air offensive will be led by senior wide receiver Greg Hardin who has hauled in 49 receptions for 879 yards and four touchdown receptions in his final collegiate season. Sophomore Kenny Golladay led the Green and White in receptions in 2013 with 58 after picking up a record 17 catches against Northern Arizona last weekend. Golladay picked up 680 receiving yards this season while also leading the team in touchdown receptions with six.
UND’s play calling will be anchored by freshman quarterback Joe Mollberg who completed 133 of 227 passes this season while managing 1,594 passing yards and throwing for six touchdowns. Backup and fellow freshman quarterback Ryan Bartels comes off a career performance last weekend against the NAU Lumberjacks and recently was named the Sports Network’s co-national freshman after his huge game in Flagstaff, Ariz.
“When he got into the game, you could just tell there was energy,” UND coach Chris Mussman said.
Bartels came off the bench to complete 39 of 59 passes for 367 passing yards and four touchdowns in UND’s 48-27 loss to the Lumberjacks.
The Green and White will play its last home game Saturday in the Alerus Center against Northern Colorado. A win would mark North Dakota’s first conference home win of the season, and its second conference win overall.
Kick-off is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
David Butz is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]