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5 things you might have missed in Idaho State's 25-21 win over No. 22 UND

1. UND has a mascot The Fighting Hawks officially have a mascot. For the first time, UND unveiled Saturday afternoon a costumed Fighting Hawk during the Potato Bowl matchup against Idaho State at the Alerus Center. The Fighting Hawk entered the f...

Kennedy and Hawk
UND President Mark Kennedy takes a selfie with the new Fighting Hawks mascot before the players take the field Saturday. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

1. UND has a mascot

The Fighting Hawks officially have a mascot.

For the first time, UND unveiled Saturday afternoon a costumed Fighting Hawk during the Potato Bowl matchup against Idaho State at the Alerus Center.

The Fighting Hawk entered the field through an inflatable helmet in the corner of the field, riding in the back of a four-wheeler before the football team ran onto the field before the game.

The mascot featured a white head, gray beak and green wings, as well as green basketball shorts.

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UND hadn't had a mascot at football games for many years, likely not since the mid-1990's when the Bleacher Creature was featured at Memorial Stadium.

UND, which retired the Fighting Sioux nickname in 2012, officially became the Fighting Hawks in 2015.

2. Third down roller coaster

UND's offense started the game going 5-for-5 on third down as the Fighting Hawks scored on the team's first two drives.

The Fighting Hawks finished the game 6-for-15 on third down, meaning the Hawks ended the game 1-for-10 on third down.

"We did it last week, too," UND quarterback Nate Ketteringham said of a sputtering second-half offense. "We came out flat in the third quarter. We have to fix something. We can't be doing that."

3. Bengals lost top defender

Idaho State senior starting linebacker Paea Moala was hurt in the first quarter.

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He returned briefly in the first half but didn't appear to play in the second half.

Coming into the weekend, Moala led the Bengals with 18 tackles-six more than any other defender.

He entered with 2.0 tackles for loss and a sack.

Against UND, he was credited with no tackles and one pass breakup.

4. The Guellers were bottled up ... until they weren't

Idaho State wide receiver Mitch Gueller came into the game as the Bengals' favorite target, collecting 10 of the team's 34 completed passes through two weeks.

UND cornerback Deion Harris locked down Mitch Gueller most of the game until the fourth quarter when Mitch's brother Tanner found him for a game-winning 67-yard score.

Mitch eluded a Harris tackle attempt on his way to a score. He finished with three catches for 108 yards.

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"Tanner did a good job finding me," Mitch said. "I broke a tackle and headed for the end zone."

Mitch is 24 years old and a former first-round MLB draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies.

"They ran a comeback route and scored," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "That shouldn't happen, but it did."

5. Idaho State finds room to run

UND has had struggles against Idaho State, but the main issue has previously been with the passing attack.

This time, the Fighting Hawks had trouble stopping the run.

Idaho State's Ty Flanagan (119 yards) and James Madison (106) both rushed for more than 100 and the Bengals ran for 273 as a team.

"We kind of opportunistically run," Idaho State coach Rob Phenicie said. "It's part of our scheme. It's all based on what the defense is giving us. Structurally, that's what we had.

"James and Ty both took it personally against Oliveira and Santiago. They want to be the two. They came out and ran really hard."

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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