UND football eyeing Big Sky championship
The UND football program solidified its FCS playoff hopes last Saturday with a win at Northern Colorado. But the Fighting Hawks say there's plenty of motivation when the regular season comes to a close Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Alerus Center agai...
The UND football program solidified its FCS playoff hopes last Saturday with a win at Northern Colorado.
But the Fighting Hawks say there's plenty of motivation when the regular season comes to a close Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Alerus Center against Northern Arizona.
UND (8-2 overall and 7-0 in the Big Sky Conference) will be playing for a shot at its first conference championship.
"For a lot of us, it's the biggest game we've ever played in," UND senior tight end Luke Mathewson said. "I know it is for me, personally."
UND and Eastern Washington are both undefeated in the league. If UND wins and EWU wins its final two games of the season, the teams will be declared co-champions. The Eagles will earn the league's playoff auto-bid based on tiebreaker criteria.
UND started the season with losses at Stony Brook (13-9) and at Bowling Green (27-26). The Fighting Hawks also trailed South Dakota 34-14 in the third quarter in Week 3 before winning in double overtime.
Mathewson said despite the slow start the team never wavered its Big Sky title belief.
"We saw improvement the first couple of games," Mathewson said. "That mentality was there the whole season. After the Bowling Green game, I was telling teammates if we play like we did that second half I don't think we'll lose. That's what we've done to this point. It was just a matter of putting offense, defense and special teams together. We've done that here the last eight weeks."
Mathewson said it's nice not to have to rely on any outside help to win the Big Sky title.
"A lot of times in the past, it was looking to the outside to see if these guys win or these guys lose," Mathewson said. "We don't have to look at the outside at all. It's completely on us. That's a cool thing."
UND football coach Bubba Schweigert said wide receiver Josh Seibel has been suspended for one game following his arrest over the weekend.
"After collecting all of the facts, I feel this is the appropriate action," Schweigert said at a weekly press conference Monday. "I love Josh, but I'm disappointed in the behavior displayed."
Seibel, the team's primary punt returner, was booked at 1:38 a.m. Sunday into the Grand Forks County Correctional Center on potential disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges, according to jail records. He has since been released.
Schweigert said UND quarterback Keaton Studsrud remains questionable with a shoulder injury for Saturday.
Studsrud, a junior captain, injured his shoulder two weeks ago against Weber State.
He didn't practice last week but traveled to Greeley, Colo, for UND's win over Northern Colorado. Studsrud dressed for pregame warmups but didn't make any throws.
UND backup quarterback Ryan Bartels was 10-for-16 passing for 89 yards with one touchdown and one interception against Northern Colorado.