The Alerus Center has become home, sweet, home for the Fighting Hawks
MVFC opponents have won only once in the Alerus since the Hawks joined the league
GRAND FORKS – UND is a relatively new member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference as the Hawks are in season No. 3 of the FCS league that is the toughest in the country.
But it’s becoming clear that the Fighting Hawks’ home – the Alerus Center – gives UND a major advantage, perhaps one of best in the FCS.
After UND roared past No. 7 Missouri State 48-31 on Saturday before 10,020 fans, the sample size for judging the Alerus Center is now sufficient.
The Alerus is becoming a venue few — if any — FCS opponent can handle.
“We really seem to think that we can win in this building,” said UND coach Bubba Schweigert. “We’ve had a lot of good wins here. And I think we’ll have some more.”
Since UND joined the MVFC, UND is now 9-1 against league teams – the lone loss coming last season by six points against the biggest bully in the league and country – North Dakota State.
And UND also improved to 9-2 at home against ranked FCS teams since 2019.
UND players perhaps are starting to believe the Alerus provides some magic for the Hawks.
Linebacker Devon Krzanowski, one of UND’s captains, appreciates the venue and its fans.
“It gets pretty loud when we’re on defense,” he said. “The crowd and the atmosphere make this a pretty tough place to play for our opponents.”
Krzanowski, who finished with six tackles and a key fourth-down sack against the Bears, isn’t sure what the reason is.
“I don’t know; maybe it’s the way this place is built,” he said. “I feel the sound level in here doubles at times. On third down and other big downs, it makes it really hard for an opponent. I really love playing in this building.
“And it’s really important that we keep building on this.”
Here are some other facts about the UND football home during the past few seasons:
- UND has defeated Missouri State by double digits every time the Hawks and Bears have played inside the Alerus Center. In 2017, UND won 34-0; In 2021, the Hawks rolled to a 44-10 win before Saturday’s 17-point win.
- It is North Dakota's first win over a top-10 team inside the Alerus since the Hawks beat No. 3 South Dakota State, 28-17, on Feb. 27, 2021.
- Nearly 1.1 million fans have seen UND post a 102-28 record at the Alerus Center in its 22 seasons of existence. That mark includes an 11-1 postseason record and a school record 23-game home winning streak from 2002-05.