NOTEBOOK: Utah controls line of scrimmage in matchup with UND

SALT LAKE CITY -- The UND football program's power run game is what has the Fighting Hawks ranked No. 8 in the FCS and the favorite to repeat as Big Sky Conference champions.


SALT LAKE CITY -- The UND football program’s power run game is what has the Fighting Hawks ranked No. 8 in the FCS and the favorite to repeat as Big Sky Conference champions.

Utah’s ability to stop the run is what has the Utes ranked No. 25 in the FBS and hopeful to make a run at a Pac 12 championship.

That matchup favored the Utes on Thursday night in Utah’s 37-16 victory.

“It was tough,” UND quarterback Keaton Studsrud said. “They have those guys up front who will play in the NFL on Sundays. They stood their ground and moved us. We wanted to stretch them out early, but they played a good game.”

Studsrud and John Santiago shared the team lead in rushing with 20 yards apiece. Brady Oliveira, an all-Big Sky Conference pick with Santiago, added seven carries for 15 yards.


James Johannesson, a transfer from Minnesota, had two carries for no yards.

Utah coach Kyle Wittingham was complimentary of the Fighting Hawks.

“That’s a good football team,” he said. “They’re going to win eight, nine, 10 games. They’re tough, well-coached and play hard. I think they’re going to have another nice season over there.”

Although UND wasn’t able to move the ball on the ground, the Fighting Hawks’ pass protection only allowed one sack.


Oregon transfer Darren Carrington proved to be the real deal in his Utah debut.

Carrington actually scored the last receiving touchdown of 2016 in Rice-Eccles Stadium as an Oregon player and the first receiving touchdown of 2017 as a Ute.

He had an 18-yard pass in the second quarter from Tyler Huntley.


Carrington led Utah with 127 receiving yards, his eighth-career 100-yard game.


- Utah was penalized 11 times for 139 yards, compared to UND’s five penalties for 45 yards.

- UND fullback Kyle Norberg was injured in the first half and didn’t return. Tyler Coyne played in his place the rest of the way.

- Reid Taubenheim is now fourth on UND’s all-time list for regular season field goals made. He connected from 32, 26 and 43 yards to increase his career total to 46.

- Utah didn’t have to punt until 5:53 left in the fourth quarter.

- UND linebacker Jake Rastas and safety Jordan Canady served a one-game suspension due to athletic department policy and did not make the trip to Salt Lake City.

- Schweigert said: “I don’t think the environment really was an issue for us. We had one procedure penalty. We executed and were getting the plays in and out. There wasn’t panic on our sideline. There’s always a little frustration when you play against a good opponent.”


- Utah is 39-0 all-time against Big Sky Conference foes.

- UND brought three true freshman to Utah: wide receiver Izzy Adeoti, safety Ty Shannon and cornerback Hayden Blubaugh. Blubaugh played early in the game, while Shannon got in late and Adeoti didn’t play.

- UND backup quarterback Brad Heidlebaugh saw his longest action of his career in the final moments. He was 1-for-4 for 12 yards.

- UND was led in receiving by Travis Toivonen, who had four catches for 64 yards.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019 and 2022.

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, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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