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Nebraska fends off scare from UND

The Fighting Hawks were able to be tied with Nebraska late in the third quarter but the Cornhuskers' run game dominated late.

NCAA Football 2022: North Dakota v Nebraska SEP 03
UND defensive end Ben McNaboe gestures to the crowd during an NCAA football game between the North Dakota Fighting Hawks and the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, NE on Saturday, September 3, 2022.
By Russell Hons/UND Athletics
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LINCOLN, Neb. — In front of 86,590 fans and playing against a Big Ten Conference opponent for the first time since 1976, the moment wasn't too big Saturday for the UND football team.

The Fighting Hawks had the Nebraska faithful booing the Cornhuskers into halftime and had the game tied late in the third quarter.

But 21 unanswered points in the second half and Anthony Grant's 189 rushing yards and two touchdowns lifted the Huskers to a 38-17 win over UND in the 2022 season opener at Memorial Stadium.

"Coming into this game, we had the belief we can beat whoever we want," UND tight end Adam Zavalney said. "We carried that into the game and had a good mindset throughout the game. We kept our composure and didn't let the crowd affect us. Moving on from this, there's good and bad. I'm proud of the guys. we fought until the end."

Zavalney's 1-yard touchdown catch with 13 seconds left in the first half tied the game at 7-7.


When Nebraska took a knee to milk the last bit of clock in the second quarter, Nebraska fans booed as the teams ran to the locker room.

After Nebraska built a 17-7 lead quickly in the third quarter, UND didn't go away. The Hawks rattled off 10 straight points to tie the game.

After a Brady Stevens 23-yard field goal to make it 17-10, UND tied the game at 17-17 when Northern Iowa transfer running back Tyler Hoosman ran in a touchdown from 5 yards out.

The Hoosman touchdown run was set up by an interception by linebacker Wyatt Pedigo, who returned the interception 12 yards down to the Husker 8 yard line.

"I was just dropping off the quarterback and he didn't take his eyes off where he wanted to throw it," Pedigo said.

The Nebraska run game dominated from there as the Huskers rattled off three touchdowns, starting with a 46-yard touchdown run from Grant.

"I was really pleased with how we were playing, scoring before half, then getting down 10 and Wyatt made a nice play to get a turnover and we were able to run it in and now we're in a game down the stretch," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "I was pleased with our effort and our want-to."

Nebraska rushed for 244 yards to UND's 175. The Fighting Hawks' run game was led by Isaiah Smith, who had 10 carries for 104 yards including a 63-yard run that led to Stevens' short field goal in the third quarter.


"They have good talent; they're a Big Ten team," Schweigert said. "They're tough to tackle in space. On third-and-long, they made a really good play to get out of the end zone. Our coverage was decent. They made plays and the longer we're on the field, it's going to be difficult. We want to play better in the fourth quarter. We have to learn from this."

UND quarterback Tommy Schuster finished 24-for-37 for 131 yards. Schuster's longest pass play was a 15-yard pass to Garett Maag, who ended with two catches for 21 yards.

UND's leading receiver was Bo Belquist who had six grabs for 40 yards.

"We had a belief coming in that if we executed our stuff that we'd be right there in the game and that's what happened," Schuster said. "There was still a lot we left out there. We have to move the ball and execute. They had a really good defense, and you can't make mistakes."

UND's play impressed Nebraska coach Scott Frost, who has been under fire in Lincoln after its loss last week against Northwestern in a game played in Ireland.

"We did a great job of keeping our composure but it was way closer than we wanted at a couple points," said Frost. "In those moments you have to have players step up and we always haven't gotten that."

Frost also gave a lot of credit to Schweigert.

"I had a great talk with Bubba after the game and before the game," said Frost. "What a great guy. He does an unbelievable job with what they have. They're going to have a chance in every game like we do."

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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