UND FOOTBALL: Putting it all together
Ryan Chappell leads UND's Fortune 500 offense, a high-powered group that can either run or pass its way to big days on the scoreboard. UND's defense, meanwhile, had difficulty turning a profit for nearly a month. "People may have had some questio...
Ryan Chappell leads UND's Fortune 500 offense, a high-powered group that can either run or pass its way to big days on the scoreboard.
UND's defense, meanwhile, had difficulty turning a profit for nearly a month. "People may have had some questions about the defense," Chappell said.
There were no questions about UND's defense Saturday after the second-ranked Sioux rolled to a 37-0 North Central Conference football win against Augustana before 12,148 homecoming fans in the Alerus Center.
Chappell ran for 254 yards - including a rocket-burst 95-yard touchdown run - as the Sioux offense racked up more than 500 yards offense for the fifth straight game. But the defense matched UND's offensive outburst by pitching a shutout in its most aggressive performance of the season.
"That's exactly what we needed," Sioux linebacker Robbie Meek said. "All of the guys made it a point to come out aggressive. That's what was missing in our last game."
The Sioux defense had allowed 70 points in UND's last two games, both high-scoring wins. Augustana, however, was stifled early. The Vikings had only two first downs and 57 yards of offense in the first two quarters.
UND blitzed on its first defensive play. That set the tone.
"That sent a message that we were going to be aggressive," UND coach Dale Lennon said. "This was a chance for the defense to redeem itself. And you have to give credit to our defensive coaches for putting together an aggressive game plan."
UND finished with 512 yards of offense, compared to 148 for Augustana. The Sioux struggled offensively early as the first quarter ended in a scoreless tie. However, UND's running game - led by Chappell - picked up steam in the second quarter.
A Brandon Brady 1-yard touchdown run, a 9-yard Josh Murray score and a Brandon Hellevang 22-yard field goal on the last play of the first half made it 17-0.
"We were moving the ball in the first quarter, but we weren't putting any points on the board," Lennon said. "Defensively, we did what we had to do. And the defense got the ball back to our offense."
The Sioux threw the ball just 13 times. There was no need to throw more as UND's powerful offensive line opened hole after hole for Chappell.
"We knew their defense was a little undersized," said Chappell, who is 41 yards away from a 1,000-yard season. "We knew they pursued really well. But we just wanted to wear them down. And our defense gave us a lot of momentum early."
The Sioux power game had taken its toll by halftime. UND needed only three plays to score on its first possession of the third quarter. Danny Freund's 39-yard touchdown pass to Weston Dressler made it 24-0. It was the only pass Dressler - UND's Harlon Hill Award candidate - caught all day.
"We didn't do anything on offense so we couldn't keep our defense off the field," Augustana coach Brad Salem said. "Our defense became fatigued. They just kept hammering it at us. One way to stop a very good offense is to keep it off the field. And we didn't do that."
UND's offense kept rolling and its defense made stop after stop, including a goal-line stand midway through the third quarter. Linebacker Bobby Stroup dropped Augustana running back Joe Clark for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the Sioux 1.
Two plays later, Chappell scored on a 95-yard run, the second week in a row the sophomore has had a scoring run of 90 or more yards.
The big question was whether he was touched on the play, which left UND with a 31-0 lead.
"Maybe," Chappell said.
His teammates didn't think he was touched.
"He amazes me," Sioux senior tackle Andy Hoffelt said. "There aren't many running backs who can do what he does. After he hits the hole, he just blows by the secondary."
The offense was expected to roll against the Vikings, who dropped to 0-3 in the NCC and 2-4 overall. UND's defense, however, wanted to join the offense in the spotlight.
"A lot of us wanted to come out and prove a point," said Meek, who led the Sioux with seven tackles. "We wanted to show people we have a good defense."