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UND gameday notebook: Sioux ground game comes through big

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UND gameday notebook: Sioux ground game comes through big
Grand Forks North Dakota 375 2nd Ave. N. 58203

Through the first three games of the season, UND's rushing game had not generated much of a buzz.

That changed Saturday in the Alerus Center, where the Sioux ground game was alive and well in UND's 27-12 win against South Dakota.

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The Sioux rushed for 184 yards on 38 carries. Mitch Sutton led the Sioux with 190 yards on 29 attempts.

UND's rushing attack helped vindicate the Sioux offensive line.

"They were a much-maligned group the last two weeks, even from me," Sioux coach Chris Mussman said. "They came to play today. They were physical.

"Our offensive line coach (Rod Cary) can finally get some sleep."

Through the first three games this season, UND averaged 3 yards per rush. Against the Coyotes, the Sioux averaged 4.8 yards. Sutton averaged 6.6 yards per attempt and became stronger as the game wore on.

The Sioux scored on their first possession of the third quarter for a 20-12 lead and scored again two possessions later, a drive sparked by a 35-yard run by Sutton.

"That was huge to come out in the third quarter, get a long drive and stick in the end zone," Mussman said.

Strange kicking day

It was a difficult day for kickers.

South Dakota used two placekickers and they both had problems. Dustin Nowotny had both of his extra-point attempts blocked, the first by Broc Bellmore and the second by Ross Brenneman. Sam Sawyer missed a 21-yard field goal late in the second quarte­r.

UND's Brandon Hellevang had two kickoffs sail out of bounds and missed a 38-yard field goal attempt on the first possession by the Sioux.

"There must have been something in the air tonight," Mussman said. "It was a bad night for kickers."

Another big game for Bamba

Sioux sophomore receiver/kick return specialist Ismael Bamba has become UND's playmaker.

He caught six passes for 141 yards and returned a kickoff 39 yards that set up UND's first quarter.

But the Montreal native was a little surprised by South Dakota's defense.

After a monster game last week at Stephen F. Austin, Bamba had one-on-one coverage for much of the game.

"They didn't respect me, so we tried to go deep," Bamba said.

Injury update

UND appeared to come out of the game in relative good health.

Sioux nose guard Ty Boyle left the game in the second half with an apparent leg injury.

"But everything seems to be stable with Ty," Mussman said after the game.

Sioux cornerback Kenny Watkins did not dress. He sat out the game with an ankle injury.

Notes and quotes

n Sioux quarterback Jake Landry on South Dakota's defense against Ismael Bamba: "Ismael one-on-one, I'll take that matchup any time."

n UND completed 8-of-12 third-down conversions, compared to 6-of-12 for South Dakota.

n UND junior Jarrel Davis scored his first touchdown for the Sioux on a 13-yard pass from Landry in the second quarter.

n Joel Schwenzfeier and Curtis Dublanko led the Sioux defense with eight tackles each. Schwenzfeier had three tackles for lost yardage. He also forced a fumble.

n The Sioux defense did not register any sacks. UND has one sack in four games.

n UND's run game was much stronger in the second half. The Sioux rushed for 138 yards in the final two quarters. Sutton picked up 143 yards in the second half.

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Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
(701) 780-1268
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