Season comes to end

North Dakota football falls to UC Davis 34-18 in final game of 2013 season.

The Green and White gridiron gang found themselves outmatched in their season finale Saturday, dropping the final contest of the 2013 season 34-18 against UC Davis.

In a game that was tightly contested through the first half, UC Davis broke open the scoreboard by scoring 12 points in a 28-second span in the second quarter.

UND finished out the 2013 campaign at 2-6 in the Big Sky (3-8 overall) while the Aggies finished 4-3 in conference play (4-6 overall).  With the loss, North Dakota closed out the season with a sixth place finish in its sophomore season in the Big Sky.

“The positive (about this season) is that our guys continued to play hard,” UND coach Chris Mussman said. “They continued to believe in what we’re doing, and their attitudes were great throughout.”

Senior Greg Hardin finished his All-American collegiate career on a high note, hauling in 11 passes for 179 yards on the night. Hardin also set a school record after becoming the first player in UND history to eclipse the 2,000 all-purpose yard mark in a season. After picking up 215 all-purpose yards against the Aggies, Hardin finished the season with 2,017.

Both North Dakota and UC Davis had nearly identical offensive production, as the Aggies barely edged UND 429-428 for offensive yards. But it was the play of UC Davis’ special teams that gave it the upper hand Saturday.

“Special teams was really the downfall for us,” Mussman said.

The UC Davis special teams unit was nothing but production as the Aggies collected 170 return yards while forcing a safety and blocking an extra point against the Green and White.

UND senior Zeb Miller tied the score at 3-3 with a season-long 45-yard field goal with 5:14 remaining in the first quarter, while managing another 45-yarder in the fourth quarter to make it a 24-12 contest.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Bartels took the start for North Dakota and finished the night completing 17 of 35 passes for 233 yards.

Bartels was able to find the redzone on three different occasions for the Green and White in the second quarter. However, he was only able to manage six points on a three-yard touchdown rush by Adam Shaugabay. The score was a team-leading eighth on the season for Shaugabay.

Fellow freshman Joe Mollberg took snaps late in the game and finished the contest with a touchdown pass and 135 passing yards after completing eight of 14 in the air.

Receiver Kenny Golladay was a huge asset in the air as he caught five passes for 109 receiving yards while connecting with Mollberg for a 30-yard touchdown score in the fourth quarter.

Golladay finished the campaign with 69 catches for 884 yards — the 69 catches are tied for the third most in a single season — while Greg Hardin finished with 67 catches for 1,153 yards. Hardin’s yardage total is the second highest in a single season at UND.

Eastern Washington finished 2013 at the top of the Big Sky at 7-0 in conference play (9-2) overall.

David Butz is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].