UND defeats Idaho to keep the ball rolling on hot streak
The 16th ranked Fighting Hawks defeated the Idaho State Bengals Saturday afternoon 28-21 in Pocatello, Idaho.
With the win, UND remains unbeaten in the Big Sky conference this year at 6-0 and have won their last eight conference contests.
Although UND got the win, ISU played very well in this game. They have one win this year against Division I opponents, but did not play like it Saturday.
“We expect four quarter battles when we’re on the road, and we expect them at home” head coach Bubba Schweigert said. “It’s the way we’re built, own the time of possession, and we knew they’d put us in space and have to make plays one on one.”
On the Bengals first drive, they got the ball down into UND territory. Instead of kicking a field goal on fourth down, they elected to go for it. The Hawk’s defense came up big and stopped them giving the offense the ball.
All the momentum that the Hawks had gained from the turnover on downs was quickly dashed after a Keaton Studsrud pass deflected off the hands of a receiver perfectly to Hayden Stout who intercepted it giving the Bengals excellent field position.
The Bengals cashed in this time on UND’s side of the field. Quarterback Tanner Gueller found his receiver in the end zone to put ISU up 7-0.
The Hawks were not able to muster anything on their next possession.
ISU once agin marched down the field to the Hawk’s 32-yard line. On fourth down and four yards to go, Gueller tried to run for the first down, but was stopped a yard short.
UND’s offense finally came alive. With four minutes to go in the quarter, Studsrud completed two 20-yard passes, ran for a first down on fourth down and then scampered into the end zone for UND’s first score making it 7-7.
After the defense held the Bengals to a three-and-out, Studsrud found freshman Travis Toivonen for a 28-yard touchdown. The score was 14-7 with 10:27 remaining in the second quarter.
The Bengals answered immediately. Gueller completed a 38-yard pass to his receiver for a long touchdown to tie the game at 14-14.
Both teams punted away the remainder of there possessions of the half.
The Hawks came out to start the second half the best way they possibly could have. The offense scored a touchdown on the opening drive. On top of that, it was a 15 play drive that chewed up eight minutes off the clock and featured two fourth down conversions. 21-14, UND.
“We needed to score seven points and get some momentum in the game,” Schweigert said. “We’re on the road and coming off a hard-fought first half. We needed to play better and our guys came out ran the ball better and we made some plays.”
At the end of the third quarter, Studsrud hit Josh Seibel with a touchdown pass putting the Hawks up 28-14.
The Bengals would not go down without a fight.
Gueller lead the Bengals on a 15 play, 80-yard touchdown drive to score with 1:32 remaining in the game.
With the game being a one score difference at 28-21, ISU elected to try an onside kick. Instead of the ball popping up to make it easier to recover, it was a line drive straight out of bounds giving UND great field position to run the time out and preserve a 28-21 victory.
With the win, UND football remains unbeaten in Pocatello, Idaho at 4-0.
The Hawks also have now gone a year without losing a game to a member of the Big Sky conference.
Penalties were a big reason for the game being as close as it was. UND was shooting themselves in the foot by losing the yards.
“We had seven penalties at half time,” Scweigert said. “It really affected the game.”
The Hawks defense held the Bengals to 289 yards of total offense and kept the Bengals offense off the field. UND had 39:30 minutes with possession of the ball to 20:30 minutes for the Bengals.
The Hawks return home to the Alerus Center to take on Weber Sate Saturday, Oct. 29th. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00pm.
Adam Gunderman is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]