Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 13 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate.
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As the UND football product has improved on the field under fourth-year coach Bubba Schweigert, work has been done this offseason to boost the environment surrounding the games. On Thursday, the Alerus Center outlined a handful of changes UND fans can expect when the home schedule starts Sept. 9 against Missouri State. No. 8-ranked UND opens the season on the road Aug. 31 at Utah.
The UND football team has spent a good portion of fall camp practicing with music blaring, anticipating a loud environment at the season opener at the University of Utah. The way UND's ticket sales are trending, the Fighting Hawks will need that experience a little more at home in 2017, too. As of Wednesday, UND has sold a school-record total of 5,086 season tickets, an increase of 1,187 new season tickets for this year compared to last.
Most of UND's incoming freshmen the past three seasons received scholarship offers after they were evaluated by head coach Bubba Schweigert and his staff at the program's summer elite camp. Nearly all of the remaining rookies that didn't attend the UND elite camp were discovered at another program's camp—at Northwestern, for example—in which members of the Fighting Hawks' staff were present. UND true freshman Izzy Adeoti's recruiting story, however, doesn't fall into either category.
Chuck Flowers isn't the most talked about athlete from his hometown of Chino Hills, Calif. That distinction goes to the Ball family—Lavar, Lonzo and the rest of the basketball factory that has dominated sports news cycles lately. Flowers, who trained some with Lavar as a youth but was older than Lavar's boys, has even flown under the radar at Memorial Stadium, where the UND football team is preparing for an Aug. 31 opener against Utah.
One of North Dakota's most decorated prep hockey players has made his college decision. Former Grand Forks Central star Grant Johnson verbally committed Thursday to play college hockey at Northern Michigan. Johnson led the state in scoring last season at Central, finishing with 29 goals and 56 assists for 85 points. He was named state tournament MVP in leading the Knights to a 27-0 state championship season.
When Logan Alm spent time with former high school teammates and coaches this offseason, he gave them the news he's now a tight end. They laughed. Alm played on the offensive and defensive lines at Hawley (Minn.) High School. He said he hasn't touched a ball in a game since he was in eighth grade and hasn't played tight end since before that. Alm, now a sophomore at UND, is in his first fall at tight end after transitioning from the defensive line.
The UND volleyball team tied a program record with 26 wins in 2016, but Fighting Hawks coach Mark Pryor isn't interested in keeping the status quo. "I think with where we are at it's nice to have that familiarity, but we have to get out of our comfort zone," Pryor said. "We have to challenge ourselves not to be the same. This is going to be a different entity. It can't be the same because the same won't be good enough."
The UND football team will have one less option at running back in 2017. Sophomore Austin Gordon, the team's fourth-string back, has been suspended for the season for a violation of NCAA policy, the school confirmed Wednesday. The 5-foot-9, 205-pound Gordon, of Maple Grove, Minn., and Wayzata High School, played in eight games last year as a redshirt freshman. He had 33 carries for 243 yards (7.4 yards per carry).
The UND football team will have one less option at running back in 2017. Sophomore Austin Gordon, the team’s fourth-string back, has been suspended for the season for a violation of NCAA policy, the school confirmed Wednesday. The 5-foot-9, 205-pound Gordon, of Maple Grove, Minn., and Wayzata High School, played in eight games last year as a redshirt freshman. He had 33 carries for 243 yards (7.4 yards per carry).
Keaton Studsrud's college football career began with some unfortunate irony. After injuries to two quarterbacks, Studsrud had his redshirt pulled with four weeks left in the 2014 season. He was thrown into the fire—fittingly in a place known as the Inferno. On the red turf of Roos Field in Cheney, Wash., Studsrud—a week removed from running the scout team—was 5-for-19 passing for 37 yards. He threw three interceptions, including one for a touchdown, as Eastern Washington pounded UND 54-3 in the first season under head coach Bubba Schweigert.