GAME NOTEBOOK: A half to remember
When St. Cloud State gave undefeated Nebraska-Omaha a scare last week in a 13-3 loss, UND players took notice of a physical Huskies defense. "They played hard and aggressive," UND quarterback Danny Freund said. "We expected a battle." Instead, th...
When St. Cloud State gave undefeated Nebraska-Omaha a scare last week in a 13-3 loss, UND players took notice of a physical Huskies defense.
"They played hard and aggressive," UND quarterback Danny Freund said. "We expected a battle."
Instead, the Sioux offense methodically picked the Huskies apart. St. Cloud State didn't stop UND's offense in the first half, as the only drive that didn't result in a touchdown was cut short by halftime.
As a result, UND took a 35-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 59-14 North Central Conference win over the Huskies on Saturday in the Alerus Center.
"We wanted to come in and take it right at them," Sioux wide receiver Brady Trenbeath said. "We knew their defense was really talented, so we wanted to come out and prove a point."
When Freund found Weston Dressler for a 13-yard touchdown pass with about three minutes left in the first half for a 35-0 lead, the Sioux had racked up some big numbers.
At that point, UND had 22 first downs, while St. Cloud State had none. The Sioux managed 340 yards of total offense to St. Cloud State's 20. UND also possessed the ball for 20 minutes, 35 seconds, while the Huskies had it for 6:23.
"Everyone was focused," Freund said. "We wanted to punch the ball in, get it again, score some touchdowns and put the game out of reach early."
The defense helped UND's offense stay in sync by forcing four straight three-and-outs to open the game.
"We got on a roll and didn't stop," UND tight end Troy Ott said.
Murray provides support
UND running back Josh Murray continues to shine as a true freshman.
Murray was the workhorse on a 13-play, 89-yard drive that spanned nearly seven minutes late in the first half.
Murray finished with 14 carries for 53 yards. On his only kickoff return, Murray returned it 50 yards.
"That kid's tough," Ott said. "He was struggling with some chest injuries. He was wheezing in the huddle, so I give him a lot of credit. He did well."
Dungy's big run
Branden Dungy doesn't get much playing time. But he's at practice every day, usually spending time with the scout team.
But the sophomore from Eagan, Minn., turned in the longest play in UND's win. He scored on a 78-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
"I bounced off a guy and it was all green to the end zone," said Dungy, a nephew of Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy.
UND coach Dale Lennon said Dungy's touchdown produced the most emotion of any of his team's eight touchdowns.
"Every day, he gives his best," Lennon said. "When he scored, you probably saw more excitement on the bench than you saw on any other of our touchdowns. Branden is a special kid."
A different look
UND usually wears green jerseys and white pants for its home games.
The Sioux switched their look Saturday. They went with black pants, which they usually wear for road games.
It's believed the last time UND went with the green-black combination came during the final Sioux home game at Memorial Stadium in 2000. UND was defeated by Augustana in its last home game played outdoors.
Sioux running back Ryan Chappell said there were a number of reasons why UND players wanted a different look.
"We talked about it during the week," Chappell said. "We brought it to the coaches. They said if we have two great practices, they'd consider it."
UND practices during the week were sharp. And the Sioux coaches allowed the uniform switch.
Another strong day
UND senior receiver Weston Dressler didn't hurt his chances of winning the Harlon Hill Award with his performance Saturday.
Dressler caught five passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns. One of his catches will be on UND's highlight reel. He made a diving grab for a 39-yard gain to the St. Cloud 3.
Dressler and Chadron (Neb.) State running back Danny Woodhead, last year's Harlon Hill winner, are believed to be two of the top candidates for this season's award.
Woodhead, however, missed his second straight game with an ankle injury Saturday against Western State of Colorado.
Dressler was more pleased with his team's pass-rush balance on offense than he was with his statistics.
"We had a lot of guys involved today," he said. "It's great to see us more balanced liked that."
Notes and quotes
-- UND, which leads the NCC in third-down conversion, converted its first 11 third-down chances.
-- With 83 yards rushing, UND sophomore running back Ryan Chappell moved into fifth place on the Sioux all-time rushing list with 2,579 yards.
-- Sioux linebacker Robbie Meek on holding St. Cloud to 151 yards of offense: "We were running our base defense. We wanted to make sure we shut down the run early."
-- UND used four running backs. Running back Brandon Brady missed his second straight game with a hand injury.
-- St. Cloud coach Randy Hedberg on UND's offense: "They use a lot of shifts and motion. They do that so well. That puts doubt in the minds of the defensive guys. You can't simulate all of those shifts and movements during practice."
-- UND needs help to earn a share of the North Central Conference. The Sioux need to beat South Dakota next Saturday, while Central Washington needs to beat unbeaten Nebraska-Omaha in Ellensburg, Wash.
-- UND's win was the 100th of Dale Lennon's coaching career.
-- The Sioux appeared to come out of the game in good health.
-- The NCC may be ending, but UND and St. Cloud apparently will meet again next season. The Sioux will be a Division I Football Championship Subdivision program, while St. Cloud will remain a Division II school and play in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.