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UND football climbs to No. 19 in FCS poll ahead of road game at No. 24 Southern Illinois

The Fighting Hawks moved up three spots in the FCS poll and will head on the road for the third time in the first four weeks of the season.

NCAA Football 2022: North Dakota v Nebraska SEP 03
UND quarterback Tommy Schuster throws a pass 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.
Russell Hons / UND Athletics
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GRAND FORKS — Looking to win two consecutive road games in a season for the first time since 2018, UND will travel to Southern Illinois with its highest ranking of the season.

The Fighting Hawks climbed three spots to No. 19 in the STATS FCS Top 25, following a come-from-behind 27-24 win at Northern Arizona last Saturday.

The matchup in Carbondale will be a Top 25 showdown as the 1-2 Salukis are coming off an upset of FBS Northwestern. SIU enters the poll at No. 24.

"We haven't been great on the road the last couple of years," UND quarterback Tommy Schuster said. "We made some crucial plays late. To get a win on the road was big for us."

The Missouri Valley Football Conference has five programs represented in the poll. North Dakota State remains the top spot with 43 first-place votes, trailed by South Dakota State in a tie for second with five first-place votes. Missouri State is sixth.

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UND will try to look for a second road win in a season for the first time since 2018. The Hawks' schedule doesn't get much easier, either, as UND hosts Missouri State following the SIU matchup.

"Our leadership council has done a good job talking to the guys who haven't been on the road with us or haven't been in our program very long," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "Our senior class has done a good job. We want to change how we do things, and it helps us. Our sideline on Saturday showed some maturity. It's a mindset, and we have to work on it day-by-day."

UND and Southern Illinois have met each of the last two seasons with the home team winning each game.

UND lost 31-28 at SIU last year and beat the Salukis 44-21 in the Alerus Center in the pandemic-altered spring season of 2020-21.

The loss in Carbondale was disappointing last season as UND missed two fourth-quarter field goals including a 47-yard attempt with 4 seconds left.

The Hawks played without starting running back Otis Weah, who was out sick. Wide receiver Garett Maag and nose guard Jalen Morrison also missed the game.

"We realize it's a 60-minute game," UND linebacker Wyatt Pedigo said of the lessons learned in Flagstaff, "and it came down to the last drive, so it showed you have to come together as a team, fight through everything that happens before and the next play is what matters."

Related Topics: UND FOOTBALLUND SPORTS
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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