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Sioux find success with newly-adopted Wildcat formation

NATCHITOCHES, La. -- The Wildcat formation, it seems, has found another home. This time, it has found a home at UND.

The Sioux used the Wildcat formation a number of times Saturday night in their 27-20 win at Northwestern State. UND scored one touchdown with the formation, that coming on Mitch Sutton's 47-yard run in the first quarter.

More and more college football teams are using the Wildcat, and now UND is one of them.

Sutton took the majority of snaps out of the formation.

"But we probably used it a little too much," UND coach Chris Mussman said.

Sutton is becoming UND's all-purpose back. He led the Sioux in all-purpose yardage at Texas Tech two weeks ago and was UND's leader again, finishing with 99 yards -- 74 on the ground.

Sutton had an unusual game, scoring a running touchdown, throwing a touchdown pass and blocking a punt for a safety.

His touchdown pass -- a 17-yarder to Ryan Dressler -- didn't earn any style points.

"That was probably the worst pass ever thrown but it worked," Sutton said of his wobbly scoring pass.

On his blocked punt, Sutton said he couldn't believe what he saw after the ball was snapped.

"No one even touched me," he said.

Points off the board

It's a question UND coach Chris Mussman knew was coming.

UND's Brandon Hellevang booted a 50-yard field goal for a 3-0 Sioux lead in the first quarter.

The field goal came as UND faced a fourth-and-1 from the Northwestern State 33. The Demons, however, were offside but the Sioux declined the penalty, keeping the points instead of continuing the drive in hopes of a touchdown.

Mussman said he didn't need much time to make his decision to take the points.

"It was a no-brainer," Mussman said. "We still had one or two first downs to get for a touchdown. So there was the potential of not getting any points. The points gave us momentum."

Defensive stops

UND's defense came up with two big defensive stops in the first half.

Linebacker Andrew Miller -- and others -- stopped quarterback Tyler Wolfe for no gain on fourth-and-goal from the Sioux 1 early in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the Demons again went for it on fourth-and-1, this time at their 17. Nose guard Ty Boyle was credited with stopping Wolfe.

On UND's first play after the stop, quarterback Jake Landry pitched the ball to Mitch Sutton, who threw a wobbly pass to Ryan Dressler for a 17-yard touchdown and a 16-6 lead. That was a huge momentum swing for the Sioux.

"Defensively, we gave up some big plays because once they got in open space it was tough," Mussman said. "But for the most part, we were pretty consistent."

Unexpected trip

Until midweek, redshirt freshman quarterback Seth Nichols wasn't planning on making the trip to Natchitoches.

But that changed with the injury to senior receiver Ryan Konrath.

Nichols was one of four quarterbacks to make the trip. However, one of the three -- Marcus Hendrickson -- may start working with the receiver corps next week to give that group more depth.

Konrath came to UND as a quarterback, which helped the Sioux with depth at both positions during road trips.

Notes and quotes

n Northwestern State started Louisville transfer Tyler Wolfe at quarterback. Fifth-year senior John Hundley struggled in Northwestern State's first two games. The Demons had nine turnovers in losses at Houston and Grambling.

n Brett Cameron saw his first game action as UND's punter. Cameron's first punt traveled 44 yards.

n Northwestern State had 285 yards of offense in the first half to UND's 166. And the Demons held the ball for nearly six minutes longer than the Sioux. Overall, Northwestern State had a 434-269 advantage in yardage.

n Sioux quarterback Jake Landry on running back Mitch Sutton's touchdown pass to Ryan Dressler: "When we came off the field, I said, 'I never thought you'd throw a touchdown pass before I did,'" Landry said.

n UND has faced five different teams for the first time with Chris Mussman as the Sioux coach. The Sioux are 2-3 in those games.

n Sioux kicker Brandon Hellevang is two extra-point kicks away from moving into second place on the all-time UND list for extra points.

Wayne Nelson
Nelson is the sports editor of the Herald
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