5 things you might've missed in UND's 34-31 win over Abilene Christian
The Fighting Hawks milked the final seven-plus minutes of the fourth quarter with the offense of Tyler Hoosman and Quincy Vaughn.
1. Kauppinen, White break streak
UND safety Kadon Kauppinen and linebacker Caden White have played every game together since they were 11 years old.
The two were youth football and high school teammates out of Sun Prairie High School in Wisconsin.
That streak was broken Saturday as White was injured last Saturday against South Dakota State and will miss the remainder of the season.
Kauppinen and White were the team's top two tacklers coming into the weekend.
Against Abilene Christian, Kauppinen had his first career interception.
"It's tough not to have him out there," Kauppinen said. "He's a great leader and one of my best friends. He's one of the best guys I know. It definitely sucks to see him go out like that. But he was on the sidelines, coaching them up and being a leader. He's being the teammate he's always been. He's handling it well."
2. UND nearly has third turnover on potential fumble
The UND football team hasn't recovered a fumble since Week 1 against Nebraska.
The Fighting Hawks appeared to break that streak in the third quarter when Jayson Coley hit ACU quarterback Maverick McIver on a blitz.
McIver, who appeared to pull the ball back to throw and then tucked it down as Coley hits him, lost nearly 15 yards on the play and UND appeared to recover the fumble.
The play, however, was ruled incomplete on the field. The play quickly went to a review, but the review upheld the incompletion ruling -- baffling UND fans watching replays of the hit.
UND coach Bubba Schweigert was asked after the game if officials referenced a "tuck rule" explanation for the call.
"I don't know the tuck rule, but they said it wasn't, so we had to go back out on defense," Schweigert said. "I thought we would've flipped the field. It wasn't even a sack, so we didn't get any yardage. Our guys battled, and we had to live with it."
The Wildcats eventually kicked a short field goal to cut UND's lead to 20-17.
3. Belquist picks up first 100-yard game of 2022
Bo Belquist is one of the most consistent wide receivers in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
But against ACU, the junior from New Rockford, N.D., eked out his first 100-yard receiving game of the season.
Belquist had seven catches for 100 yards, with a long of 37. He caught a 4-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
Belquist has caught at least five balls in every game this season. His season-low receiving yards was 40 against Nebraska.
Belquist had three games of more than 80 yards this season, but his season-high was 85 yards against Northern Iowa.
Belquist's career-high receiving yards was 142 against Western Illinois in 2021.
4. Dennis sees more action
UND true freshman Caden Dennis played the most significant role of his young career against ACU, finishing with two catches for 40 yards.
Dennis, a 6-foot-2 rookie from Kansas City, caught a 31-yard contested ball down the sideline in the third quarter.
One play later, UND running back Tyler Hoosman punched in a 2-yard touchdown run for a 27-17 lead.
It was Dennis' fifth game of the 2022 season, meaning the Hawks are pulling the redshirt on the deep threat.
For the year, Dennis has five catches for 90 yards.
5. Kick coverage struggles
Just when UND looked to have started to put the game away in the second half, UND's kick coverage issues popped up and nearly allowed ACU to take advantage.
ACU used a short field from a 91-yard Davion Johnson kick return to cut UND's lead to 27-24 with 1:13 left in the third quarter.
Johnson had four kick returns for 182 yards.
After his 91-yard return, ACU survived a delay-of-game penalty that was followed by a sideline unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, which set up first-and-goal from the 24.
On third-and-goal from the 12, ACU's Maverick McIver lobbed a touchdown pass for Blayne Taylor. UND defensive back C.J. Siegel tripped and fell down in coverage on the play.
"We have to do better on special teams," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "We have to take a real hard look at it and be better there because that put us in a tough spot."
Because UND feared kicking deep in the fourth quarter, the Hawks kicked short after going up 34-24, which led to a quick score for ACU, which scored about two minutes later.