UND football notebook: Future UND trips to California unclear

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Conditions were ideal for football Saturday night at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. It's hard to beat California weather any time of the year.

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Conditions were ideal for football Saturday night at Alex G. Spanos Stadium. It's hard to beat California weather any time of the year.

Future trips to Cal Poly, however, are uncertain for UND, now that the Great West Conference is in its final stages of existence. Cal Poly will leave the Great West for the Big Sky, likely playing a full schedule beginning in 2012.

Fellow Great West member UC Davis also is headed for the Big Sky for football, leaving UND, South Dakota and Southern Utah looking for a stable football home.

But there is a chance UND, which dropped to 2-5 with its 22-21 loss against the Mustangs, will again travel to Cal Poly for future games.

The Big Sky is considering UND for membership and league commissioner Doug Fullerton indicated late last week that there may be some news on the expansion front sometime this week. Big Sky presidents met for two days last week in Park City, Utah, where league expansion was on the agenda.


UND athletic director Brian Faison was at the UND-Cal Poly game but offered no comment on any of the possibilities regarding UND and the Big Sky.

UND will host Summit League officals for an official visit the first week in November. UND has applied for Summit membership as well, but the league does not offer football.

Finding a home for Sioux football has been a difficult problem, but one that may have some clarity later this week.

When UND made the move to Division I, conference affiliation was the No.1 priority.

New QB

leads Poly

Cal Poly started a different quarterback against the Sioux.

Andre Broadous, the regular, went down with a shoulder injury on the last play of the game last week at Southern Utah.


But the Mustangs' triple option offense didn't miss much with Smith calling the plays.

Smith scored Cal Poly's first touchdown on a 4-yard run. But his 9-yard pass to Dominique Johnson on fourth-and-4 was the big play of the Mustangs' drive.

Smith was Cal Poly's starter last year before Broadous took over.

Finally at home

Cal Poly spent the past five weeks on the road, playing in California, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia and Utah.

The local football fans were glad to see their favorite college football team play again. Most of the 11,000 seats in Alex G. Spanos Stadium were filled 20 minutes before kickoff.

The student section, however, was far from filled. Apparently, there is just too much to do in the California sun. But students slowly filled the section as the game progressed.

Notes and quotes


n It was that kind of first half for UND. When things started well, they ended poorly. Brett Cameron unloaded a 65-yard punt late in the first quarter. Asa Jackson, however, returned the ball 37 yards to the Cal Poly 47. The Sioux needed any type of momentum at that point but a 65-yard punt wasn't enough.

n Joel Schwenzfeier intercepted a Smith pass on the last play of the first half, his second of the year. He has nine career interceptions.

n UND played without starting defensive lineman Ross Brenneman, who remained home after suffering a shoulder injury against Southern Utah two weeks ago. Defensive back and return specialist Erik Mersereau also did not play. On offense, Ryan Dressler did not make the trip due to an injury.

n UND had only two first downs in the first half, compared to 14 for Cal Poly. The Sioux managed only 73 yards in the opening two quarters to 227 for Cal Poly.

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
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