UND FOOTBALL: Motivation shouldn't be a problem in game against Eastern Washington
CHENEY, Wash. -- UND's long shot at making the Division I FCS playoffs drifted away on a windy day in Cedar City, Utah, last Saturday as the team dropped to 3-5 with a 35-17 loss to Southern Utah. Still, first-year coach Bubba Schweigert said mot...
CHENEY, Wash. - UND’s long shot at making the Division I FCS playoffs drifted away on a windy day in Cedar City, Utah, last Saturday as the team dropped to 3-5 with a 35-17 loss to Southern Utah.
Still, first-year coach Bubba Schweigert said motivation shouldn’t be a problem Saturday when UND visits Eastern Washington at 4 p.m. on the bright red field in Cheney.
“It’s an opportunity for us to play against a top team in the country,” Schweigert said. “If you don’t get excited for this, you’re not much of a competitor. We challenged our guys to look at this as an opportunity to move this team forward in a positive direction and find out what we’re made out of.
“It’s easy to get excited when the postseason is out there, but it shouldn’t be that challenging for us for what we’re trying to build. We know where we want to go.”
UND will attempt to shake its road woes against one of the Big Sky Conference’s best. Eastern Washington, 7-2 overall, is coming off a rare league loss - a 28-27 defeat at Northern Arizona.
Both teams will be dealing with injury issues at quarterback. For EWU, All-American Vernon Adams has been sidelined with a broken foot and is doubtful to play against UND.
UND’s situation is even more desperate under center. UND lost starting quarterback Joe Mollberg and backup Ryan Bartels in the loss to Southern Utah.
That means North Dakota is expected to start true freshman Keaton Studsrud against the Eagles. The St. Louis Park, Minn., native will be taking his first college snaps.
UND only has one other healthy quarterback in backup Jake Hanson, a sophomore from Grafton, N.D.
Garman in the picture
UND’s go-to running back has shifted throughout the season. Cedric Simmons, Adam Shaugabay and Kyle Norberg all have taken turns as the main ball carrier.
But over the course of the past few weeks, UND has turned to senior speedster Jer Garman, who turned in UND’s first 100-yard rushing game last week since Jake Miller did it in the season opener of 2013 against non-scholarship Valparaiso.
Garman’s first 100-yard rushing game of his career snapped the program’s 17-game drought.
On the season, Garman has 67 carries for 230 yards and three touchdowns.
Offensive injuries pile up
UND has lost seven players to season-ending injuries, including four key contributors offensively.
A few others are questionable against the Eagles, including senior running back Adam Shaugabay and true freshman wide receiver Dev Ferguson. Shaugabay and Ferguson did not make the trip to Cheney.
Defensively, UND’s remains relatively healthy, although the team lost backup corner Chris Carter to an injury against the Thunderbirds.