Third time’s the charm for Fighting Hawks football

Quarterback Keaton Studsrud runs the ball past USD defenders during Saturdays Potato Bowl football game at the Alerus Center. Photo by Nick Nelson/ The Dakota Student

Dakota Student / Nicholas Nelson

Quarterback Keaton Studsrud runs the ball past USD defenders during Saturday’s Potato Bowl football game at the Alerus Center. Photo by Nick Nelson/ The Dakota Student

Double overtime showdown against border rival USD brings UND’s first win of the season

In an nail-biting double overtime match up between UND and USD, the Fighting Hawks were able to find their first win of the season.

“Our guys stuck with it and came away with a positive result,” UND head coach Bubba Schweigert said. “I was proud of the resolve we showed.”

The first quarter both teams was spent feeling out their opponents as USD grabbed a 3-0 lead on a successful field goal attempt by Miles Bergner from the 35 yard line just shy of the half way point of the first quarter.

UND’s first scoring play came with under a minute left in the first as junior Defensive Back, Cole Reyes, ran for a 33-yard interception return and kicker Reid Taubenheim added the extra point for a 7-3 lead after the first quarter.

The Hawks added a single touchdown in the second quarter from an 11-yard pass from UND Quarterback Keaton Studsrud and it would be the last time that UND would hold a lead over their opponents 6-14.

Schweigert and the Hawks had adjustments to make if they were going to stand a chance after allowing the Coyotes to put 21 unanswered points on the board.

“We had a stretch there in the second quarter that was not how we want to play football and they came out and really put us in a hole with that opening drive after halftime,” Schweigert said. “But we found a way to make some plays down the stretch and do just enough to get it into overtime.”

The Coyotes kept the Hawks quiet through the third quarter allowing for a single field goal from Taubenheim for a deficit 34-17 heading into the final quarter, there was no sense of panic from Schweigert, who had faith his team would find their grove.

“We were never in panic. I was really proud of our guys,” Schweigert said. “We played pretty good defense after giving up that drive to start the second half.”

Finding that energy they so desperately needed, UND posted 20 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to stun the Coyotes.

into the Coyotes lead, UND touchdown from junior Defensive Back Deion Harris who took a 33 yard interception return to move the score within a single point, 34-33, as Taubenheim kicked for the extra point to settle the score at 34-34.

“You can’t ever lose faith in a game or you’re setting yourself up for failure,” sophomore running back, John Santiago said. “Coming out in the second half, we all believed we could come back.”

Regulation time would run to zero and the two teams would head into overtime play where fans would gear up for a rollercoaster of emotions.

On the first play in overtime, Santiago ran the ball for 25 yards for a promising advantage. As the crowd began to erupt with excitement USD mirrored Santiago’s performance and squared up the score bringing the fans back into focus.

USD brought the score into their favour with a 37-yard field goal for the 44-41 lead.

More than ever, the Hawks needed to find that repeat performance from Santiago for a touchdown and that is what they thought they had. Santiago carried the ball from the 5-yard line for what looked to be the end of the game, but a review of the play showed that a single yard stood between UND and victory.

The Hawks needed two more solid plays to find the end zone as Studsrud carried it in from inside the 1-yard line and that sign of relief as the crowd celebrated and the players flooded the field.

“Our locker room sure was different when you’re on the right end of the scoreboard,” Schweigert said. “Our guys felt good about winning the game. We feel better about ourselves because we got a win.”

Finally in the win column, starting Quarterback, Keaton Studsrud, is still looking for change.

“I’m kind of sick of the close games,” Studsrud said. “We came up short last week. We got in the same situation this week, and we made the most of it.”

Another successful Potato Bowl is now in the books for both the football program and the fans, as they recorded the highest attendance since 2009 with an outstanding 11,477 in official attendance.

The Fighting Hawks will now take their winning energy back onto the road to face Montana State this Saturday in Bozeman, Mont. for a 3 p.m. kick off.

Allyson Bento is the sports editor for The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected]