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5 things you might've missed in UND's 14-7 win over Illinois State

The Fighting Hawks improved to 5-5 overall and 3-4 in the Missouri Valley.

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UND linebacker Jaxson Turner sacks Illinois State quarterback Jackson Waring in the first half Saturday. Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

1. Waletzko, Larson suffer injuries

Injuries hit UND hard in the second quarter Saturday in a 14-7 win over Illinois State at the Alerus Center.

UND preseason All-American left tackle Matt Waletzko and starting inside linebacker Noah Larson both suffered injuries in the quarter.

Waletzko left the game, grabbing his shoulder. He came back to the sideline in the third quarter in a sling. Colin Lavell, who started earlier this season at guard, filled in for Waletzko in his absence.

Larson, who has played in more than 40 games in his UND career, was on crutches on UND's sideline in the second half.

"They don't look good," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "They told us as soon as they went out of the game that they were done for the day. We'll see more tomorrow. Disappointing. Two guys who are really important to our team."

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Waletzko's injury is also concerning considering his NFL Draft status. The senior has drawn NFL scouts from nearly every organization to Grand Forks this fall.

2. Boltmann happy with Alerus senior moment

UND senior wide receiver Brock Boltmann, who had the biggest play of the day on a 37-yard grab in the fourth quarter to set up the Fighting Hawks' winning score, indicated this is likely his final home game.

"I've kind of treated it as such throughout the year," Boltmann said. "It was a good game to end on."

And if the catch in traffic to seal a victory is the lasting memory?

"Pretty good," he said. "That's probably as good as it's going to get, you know what I mean?"

Boltmann, who was recruited as a quarterback out of Edina (Minn.) High School, transitioned to wide receiver in 2019 while also running some plays at quarterback in a formation that became known as the Brockstar Formation.

Boltmann, who missed all of last spring with an injury, has more than 500 career receiving yards, six touchdown catches, more than 220 rushing yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns and three career touchdown passes.

"Incredible catch," UND linebacker Jaxson Turner said. "He's an incredible player, so I expect nothing less. I'm really happy for him, being a senior to go out with a memory like that."

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3. Game sees 7 players take snaps

Boltmann was one of four UND players to take a snap in the game, while Illinois State had three different quarterbacks play against the Fighting Hawks.

Tommy Schuster, Quincy Vaughn, Boltmann and even running back Otis Weah took a snap against the Redbirds. Boltmann carried twice for 6 yards, while Weah's direct snap went for a small gain.

Surprisingly, Schuster was UND's biggest run threat, running for 21 yards with a long of 12 on five carries during scramble plays. However, he was sacked twice to end with a net of 5 yards.

The two sacks were rare for UND, which entered the game allowing an FCS-best three sacks all season.

For Illinois State, Jackson Waring, Bryce Jefferson and Britton Morris all took snaps. Jefferson, who started for Illinois State at times each of the past two seasons, was 1-for-2 passing for 7 yards and was stripped by Quinton Urwiler during a blitz, which led to UND's first touchdown -- a 9-yard Schuster to Jake Richter score.

4. Senior Day hints?

With Saturday marking UND's final home game of the regular season, the program honored seniors before the game.

The moment might've provided some hints as to which players will be returning for an additional season. The NCAA ruled that last spring's season didn't count toward an athlete's eligibility, opening the door for the possibility of an extra season for some seniors.

The notable seniors who may have had an opportunity to return in 2022 who were honored before the game included Boltmann, defensive end Quintin Seguin, long snapper Ross Hinders and left tackle Matt Waletzko.

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The seniors who weren't honored, perhaps indicating a return in 2022, include wide receiver Garett Maag, inside linebacker Noah Larson, inside linebacker Devon Krzanowski, nose guard Jalen Morrison and punter Cade Peterson.

5. Turner passes Bennett for career sack record

UND linebacker Jaxson Turner, who utilized the additional senior season this fall, passed former Fighting Hawks defensive end and current CFL player Mason Bennett on the career sacks list in the Division I era.

Turner had a pair of sacks against Illinois State to raise his career total to 21.

Turner sits in second place in UND's all-time (Division I and Division II) list, behind by Wes Atkinson.

"Pretty cool," Turner said. "I've been trying for it since Mason left. He wants me to beat it and texts me after every game to see if I've beat it. I'll be excited to text him after this to tell him I finally got it."

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