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5 things you might not have noticed in UND's game against Northern Arizona

1. Schweigert didn't feel QB change was right FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.--UND quarterback Nate Ketteringham struggled during Northern Arizona's 31-16 win over UND on Saturday at Walkup Skydome, putting an end to thoughts of an FCS playoff berth. Ketteringh...

North Dakota quarterback Nate Ketteringham throws the ball downfield while being pressured by the Northern Arizona defensive line Saturday in the J. Walkup Skydome. Ben Shanahan, Arizona Daily Sun.
North Dakota quarterback Nate Ketteringham throws the ball downfield while being pressured by the Northern Arizona defensive line Saturday in the J. Walkup Skydome. Ben Shanahan, Arizona Daily Sun.

1. Schweigert didn't feel QB change was right

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.-UND quarterback Nate Ketteringham struggled during Northern Arizona's 31-16 win over UND on Saturday at Walkup Skydome, putting an end to thoughts of an FCS playoff berth.

Ketteringham was 13-for-29 passing for 109 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

The Fighting Hawks elected not to make a move to replace Ketteringham with either backup-Andrew Zimmerman or Brock Boltmann.

"I don't think it was all a quarterback issue," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "He took a lot of hits. We talked about (a change) a bit but felt that wasn't the right thing to do."

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2. Running game struggles

UND running backs Brady Oliveira and John Santiago are two of the best backs in the Fighting Hawks' Division I history.

But the two never got much going in likely their final games of their career.

Santiago finished with 12 carries for 55 yards, while Oliveira had eight carries for 18 yards.

UND played without a key to the running game as tight end Luke Fiedler was out with an injury the senior suffered against Portland State.

3. Schweigert defends decision to punt

Trailing 24-16 with a fourth-and-2 near midfield with about seven minutes left, UND coach Bubba Schweigert elected to punt.

Freshman punter Cade Peterson punted it into the end zone, giving NAU the ball at the 20.

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NAU put together a game-clinching drive, ending with a touchdown with about a minute left.

"I thought to go for it there, there was enough time to pin them," Schweigert said. "Cade had a good day but that wasn't what we were looking for. We were looking to pin them and force a mistake because we were playing good defense."

4. Leach is a bright spot

One of the lone bright spots in UND's loss to Northern Arizona was the play of freshman kicker Brady Leach.

The rookie from Moorhead, who has struggled with field goals and extra points this season, made three field goals including his season long.

Leach connected from 35, 43 and 28 yards. The 43-yard field goal was 6 yards better than his previous career long.

5. Questions loom on long-term status at NAU

As Northern Arizona's season ended Saturday, the future of the Lumberjacks was clouded in uncertainty.

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Veteran head coach Jerome Souers is in the final season of his contract. His job status has been in question the past few seasons and the school has given no indication about his future employment.

Lumberjacks fans also must be nervous about All-American quarterback Case Cookus, who told the Arizona Daily Sun local newspaper that he hasn't decided about his future.

Cookus, a two-time all-Big Sky Conference pick, was injured early this season and hasn't returned.

He's reportedly been on track to graduate and could spend his senior season elsewhere.

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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