Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.




UND coach Dale Lennon watched tape of Central Washington earlier this week. In many respects, he saw his Sioux team on the Central Washington game film. ?Watching the film, I like the football team I see,? Lennon said, referring to the Wildcats. ...

UND coach Dale Lennon watched tape of Central Washington earlier this week.

In many respects, he saw his Sioux team on the Central Washington game film.

"Watching the film, I like the football team I see," Lennon said, referring to the Wildcats. "They're a reflection of us. Their offensive and defensive schemes are similar. They have talented playmakers. And they play hard every play."

Central Washington will come after UND today in the Alerus Center, where the teams will meet in the 42nd annual Potato Bowl. It's also Hall of Fame weekend at UND.

More than 10,000 fans are expected to see No. 2 UND shoot for its third straight win against a team that could be the most improved team in the North Central Conference.


Central Washington opened its season last week with a 44-0 win against Humboldt State, a team the Sioux beat 59-0 three weeks ago. The statistics from both games were similar, meaning the Sioux could have their hands full against the unranked Wildcats.

"They did to Humboldt what we basically did to Humboldt," Lennon said. "You can't compare (the statistics) too much. The only thing we know is that they have just about everyone back from last year and have added some Division I transfers."

UND beat Central Washington 28-14 last season in Ellensburg. The Wildcats led 14-0 before the Sioux rallied for four touchdowns.

UND's big concern will be Central Washington quarterback Mike Reilly, a preseason All-America selection. The junior has thrown for 200 or more yards in 19 of his 22 career starts for the Wildcats.

Central Washington's big concern likely is the Alerus Center atmosphere, a major advantage for the Sioux since they moved indoors in 2001.

Wildcats first-year coach Beau Baldwin was an assistant at Central Washington in 2002. In that season, Central Washington humbled the Sioux 43-7 in the Alerus Center. That game also was the Potato Bowl. In addition, it was UND's most lopsided home loss since a 21-point setback to North Dakota State in 1997.

The Alerus Center was quiet when the Wildcats left in 2002. But Baldwin knows it won't be easy silencing the crowd.

"You'd better be ready to go," Baldwin said. "They're talented. I'm even more impressed with their heart and desire. Regardless of what the scoreboard says, they're coming at you."


UND's first game against Humboldt State focused on starting quarterback Danny Freund, who was making his debut. Against Southern Utah last week, the focus was on the fact the Sioux were facing a Division I FCS program.

Today's game has another twist. It's the North Central Conference opener for both teams.

"Now, it's for real," Lennon said. "If you lose a nonconference game, you can survive that. When you have a conference loss, it can keep you from winning the conference or it can keep you out of the playoffs."

Big games

The UND sports information staff did some digging this week after the Sioux pummeled Southern Utah.

The research revealed this: UND never produced back-to-back 500-yard offensive performances in recorded school history.

The Sioux gained 513 yards against Humboldt State and 550 at Southern Utah.

The offensive outbursts didn't come as a complete surprise to junior quarterback Danny Freund.


"We have most of our offensive players back from last year," he said. "And we had a good fall camp. We've carried that into the start of the season."

Sioux senior receiver Weston Dressler is a big reason why UND has put up big numbers in its first two games.

"Any time you put up 500 yards, it's unexpected," Dressler said. "But when we go out on the field, we expect to score on every drive." A new wrinkleOne of Danny Freund's passes last week at Southern Utah went to Ryan Konrath, who is the No. 3 quarterback on the depth chart.

Konrath's athleticism at quarterback and elsewhere gives the Sioux more options, especially on the road.

"You always debate how many quarterbacks to take on the road," UND coach Dale Lennon said. "Ryan is a good athlete. He was an option quarterback in high school." Bowl game?Central Washington and Western Washington, UND's opponent next week, will become a part of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference next season. The five-team league also will include Western Oregon, Humboldt State and Dixie State of St. George, Utah.

The GNAC and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference also will take part in the Dixie Rotary Bowl, played annually in St. George. Under next year's format, the top GNAC team that doesn't make the Division II playoffs will meet the top RMAC team that doesn't qualify for postseason play in the Dixie Rotary Bowl. SUU plans

money gamesSouthern Utah offers 58 scholarships. The maximum for NCAA Division I Football Subdivision programs is 63. The Thunderbirds have alloted 58 scholarships the past two seasons.

By doing so, SUU will be eligible for a money game next season against a Division I program. The Thunderbirds will open at Air Force next season and at San Diego State in 2009.


Reach Nelson at 780-1268, (800) 477-6572 ext. 268 or wnelson@gfherald.com .

What To Read Next
Get Local