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UND football: It'll be power versus power

Stony Brook is located near the bright lights of the Big Apple. But the New York team scheduled to play UND on Saturday in the 44th annual Potato Bowl isn't expected to bring a lot of flash and dash to Grand Forks.

Stony Brook is located near the bright lights of the Big Apple. But the New York team scheduled to play UND on Saturday in the 44th annual Potato Bowl isn't expected to bring a lot of flash and dash to Grand Forks.

Instead, it looks like UND will be playing a team similar to itself -- one that likes physical football.

"This is a very good football team," UND coach Chris Mussman said of Stony Brook. "I like what they do offensively. They have an answer for everything you're going to do. They'll press you and stress you defensively. It's a very solid, a very well-coached team."

Stony Brook, a member of the Big South Conference, is 2-3, a record that's a bit deceiving, according to Seawolves coach Chuck Priore.

Stony Brook's three losses came against UMass, Colgate and Hofstra. UMass and Colgate are ranked in this week's FCS Top 25 while Hofstra -- Stony Brook's rival -- sits just outside the Top 25.

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"We're a good 2-3 team," Priore said. "Our first two games of the season were against very good opponents (Hofstra and Colgate). We were right in there with them. In Week 4, we played UMass and played well for a half but we weren't able to continue that play in the second half."

Same struggles

Stony Brook has been where UND is going.

Priore's program is fully funded for the first time this season. Stony Brook moved up to the FCS ranks 11 years ago and found a conference home last season in the Big South, where it finished second.

"We know the battles of moving up," Priore said.

Saturday's battle may come down to Stony Brook's offense against the Sioux defense.

The Seawolves will attempt to establish the running game.

"That's what makes us tick," Priore said.

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Stony Brook's Conte Cuttino and Edwin Gowins will do most of the ground work. Gowins has carried the ball 56 times for 338 yards while Cuttino, the school's only 3,000-yard career rusher, has gained 221 yards on 57 attempts through five games.

"We've got two legitimate backs," Priore said. "They've been playing sporadically because of injuries."

The Seawolves are also becoming accustomed to new quarterback Michael Coulter, a former Syracuse player who has completed 70 of 119 passes for 926 yards and 6 touchdowns.

The big concern, however, for the Priore, is the travel, especially to a different region of the country. And the uncertainty of playing indoors for the first time also is a concern.

"Traveling in college football usually brings out a huge advantage to the home team," Priore said. "We have a 3ยฝ-hour plane ride. We'll prepare for the noise part of it and hopefully handle that.

"The styles of football between the teams are pretty similar. We're both physical.

"But it will come down to the execution of the game plan. Football is football. When you strap it on every Saturday, you get excited."

Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to wnelson@gfherald.com .

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Saturday's game

Who: Stony Brook at UND, 1 p.m.

Where: Alerus Center.

Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM), noon pregame.

Records: UND 2-2, Stony Brook 2-3.

Of note: This will be the 44th annual Potato Bowl. UND is 32-11 in the Potato Bowl.

Wayne Nelson is the sports editor at the Herald.


He has been with the Grand Forks Herald since 1995, serving as the UND football and basketball beat writer as well as serving as the sports editor.



He is a UND graduate and has been writing sports since the late 1970s.



Follow him on Twitter @waynenelsongf. You can reach him at (701) 780-1268 or wnelson@gfherald.com.
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