5 things you might've missed in UND's 29-27 win over Northern Iowa
The Fighting Hawks improved to 1-1 with a Potato Bowl victory over Northern Iowa, which was playing in Grand Forks for the first time since 1976.
GRAND FORKS — In a roller-coaster game, UND held off No. 24 Northern Iowa 29-27 on Saturday at the Alerus Center in front of 9,940 fans.
Here's five things you might've missed.
1. Linebacker Josh Navratil made key plays
UND outside linebacker Josh Navratil missed most of the 2021 season with an injury.
He showed against Northern Iowa what the Fighting Hawks missed.
In the first quarter, Navratil, a junior from Pine Island, Minn., chased down UNI quarterback Theo Day on third-and-9 to force a Matthew Cook field goal to keep UND's lead to 7-3.
In the third quarter, Navratil sacked Day on second-and-goal to force a long third down, which UNI threw incomplete. Cook kicked his second field goal of the day to give UNI a 13-7 lead.
The biggest Navratil play came on third-and-9 from the 19 when he sacked Day for an 11-yard loss. That forced a 47-yard attempt from Cook that was wide left.
"There were a couple errors that were the difference in the game," UNI coach Mark Farley said. "One, there was a pass interference call where we have an interception and the (referee) called it from the other side of the field. That guy threw the flag from 50 yards deep from the far corner, so he has better eyes than I have. The other was the sack at the 30-yard line, and we miss the field goal."
2. UND sees players make a couple of firsts
UND's offense used a couple of new weapons against Northern Iowa.
In the first quarter, UND true freshman wide receiver Caden Dennis caught the first pass of his career.
Dennis caught a 30-yard ball from Tommy Schuster.
UND also completed a pass to a quarterback for the second week in a row thanks to Simon Romfo and the first pass of his career.
Last week, Schuster found Quincy Vaughn for a 5-yard pass against Nebraska.
This week, UND lined Romfo, a redshirt freshman out of Langdon-Edmore-Munich, at wide receiver and pitched him the ball on a reverse. Romfo threw the ball back to Schuster for a 7-yard pickup.
3. Wyatt Pedigo picks off a pass for the second week in a row
UND linebacker Wyatt Pedigo is receiving his first significant playing time of his career in 2022, and the sophomore from Hoisington, Kan., is making the most of it.
After registering an interception last week at Nebraska, Pedigo made it two straight games when he accounted for Northern Iowa's lone turnover.
Pedigo's interception of Day in the fourth quarter was important for momentum.
After Northern Iowa cut UND's lead to 22-20 with 13:06 left in the fourth quarter on a Dom Williams 47-yard run, UND's next offensive drive sputtered and the Panthers looked to take the lead.
Pedigo also had three tackles.
4. Belquist has big game
UND wide receiver Bo Belquist continues to establish himself as the Fighting Hawks go-to target.
Belquist finished with five catches for 85 yards including a 39-yard touchdown pass with 7 minutes left in the third quarter to give UND a 14-13 lead.
Belquist, a New Rockford, N.D., native, had six catches for 40 yards against Nebraska in Week 1.
Belquist now has had at least five catches in five straight games.
5. UND escapes physical game without mounting injuries
Despite playing against one of the more physical teams in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, UND appeared to escape the matchup with few injuries.
UND running back Isaiah Smith appeared to be hobbled at times, as he finished with eight carries for 10 yards. However, Smith still managed to add five catches for 65 yards.
UND wide receiver/running back Red Wilson, who was also slowed with an injury this week at practice, played through it and added three rushes for 30 yards.