Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 10 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate.
- Member for
- 3 years 10 months
BOZEMAN, Mont.—Due to an injury to starting cornerback Tyus Carter, UND started freshman Torrey Hunt in the Big Sky Conference opener against Montana State. The rookie didn't look out of place in UND's 17-15 win over Montana State on Saturday afternoon at Bobcat Stadium before 19,577 fans. Hunt batted down two balls in the redzone in the first quarter, intercepted a pass and returned it 35 yards and finished with four tackles.
BOZEMAN, Mont.—For most of Saturday afternoon, more than 19,000 Montana State homecoming fans created a deafening roar at picturesque Bobcat Stadium. But at the end of the UND football team's Big Sky Conference season opener at Montana State, the only noise heard was the Fighting Hawks singing the school song in the locker room. UND running back Brady Oliveira rushed for a career-high 171 yards and two touchdowns and the Fighting Hawks' defense held strong on a 2-point conversion attempt with 1 minute, 41 seconds left to seal a 17-15 win over the Bobcats.
BOZEMAN, Mont.—As a senior at Lemont High School (Ill.) in 2013, Connor O'Brien was set to play college football at nearby NCAA Division III North Central College. O'Brien had been on a visit to UND, but the program told O'Brien they didn't have the scholarship money to afford an offer. Two weeks before national signing day, former UND defensive coordinator Josh Kotelnicki called O'Brien and said a scholarship was now available. The 2016 version of the Fighting Hawks are glad it worked out for O'Brien.
Q. What was your first introduction to football? A. My dad (Jay) is a football coach for my high school in Menomonie (Wis.), so I was a football manager in kindergarten. I was running around the field for a while before I put pads on. Q. You're now on scholarship, but you started your UND career as a walk-on. What was your recruiting story?
UND offensive coordinator Paul Rudolph was watching a high school basketball game last winter between Minot and Jamestown. After watching Jamestown's Noah Wanzek on the court, Rudolph texted UND head coach Bubba Schweigert, defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt and wide receivers coach Danny Freund. "If I'm picking at recess, I'm picking him first," Rudolph texted the coaches. After further evaluation, the rest of the coaches agreed and made a scholarship offer to Wanzek late in the recruiting process.
With a hodgepodge non-conference schedule featuring Division II Western Oregon, FCS Bryant and FBS Idaho, Montana State first-year coach Jeff Choate is looking at his Big Sky Conference opener against UND at 3 p.m. Saturday as a litmus test of the 2016 season. "The true test is this week," Choate said. "This is a team that probably should have been in the playoff a year ago." The Bobcats, 2-1, are trying to overhaul their identity under Choate, who took over in the offseason for Rob Ash.
As excited as UND football fans were after Saturday's double-overtime win over South Dakota, the home fans were just as passionate at halftime when the Fighting Hawks were losing 27-14. For the second straight week, a big play before halftime put UND in a hole. On Monday, at UND's weekly press conference at the High Performance Center, Fighting Hawks coach Bubba Schweigert and his team said they know they have to avoid playing catch-up this Saturday in the Big Sky Conference opener at Montana State.
The UND football program's performance through the first three weeks of the 2016 season has seen its ups and downs, but one aspect of the Fighting Hawks' year has remained consistent. UND consistently has added scoring from its defense. The Fighting Hawks scored on defense for the third straight week as both safety Cole Reyes and cornerback Deion Harris returned interceptions for touchdowns during a 47-44 double-overtime win over South Dakota in the Potato Bowl on Saturday at the Alerus Center.
Maybe after two agonizing losses and facing a 20-point second-half deficit against South Dakota, the UND football team deserved to storm the field in celebration twice during double overtime. UND first invaded the field in jubilation when running back John Santiago appeared to score on first-and-goal in double overtime. The play, however, was overturned by officials who ruled Santiago was downed inside the 1.
In 2003, Bob Nielson was moving from football coach to athletic director at NCAA Division II Minnesota-Duluth. He chose his replacement to be Bubba Schweigert. Now, 13 years later, Nielson and Schweigert face off against each other at 4 p.m. today. Nielson, a first-year head coach at South Dakota, visits Schweigert-led UND at the Alerus Center. The Schweigert-Nielson storyline is just the beginning when it comes to the history in play and at stake in UND's home opener.