UND FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Miller thriving on heavy workload
CEDAR CITY, Utah - After Saturday's game, UND's lack of depth at running back doesn't seem to be that big of an issue. Jake Miller again carried the load, rushing for 161 yards and two touchdowns in UND's 26-20 Great West Conference football win ...
CEDAR CITY, Utah - After Saturday's game, UND's lack of depth at running back doesn't seem to be that big of an issue.
Jake Miller again carried the load, rushing for 161 yards and two touchdowns in UND's 26-20 Great West Conference football win against Southern Utah. Miller was in the spotlight for the third straight week with starting tailback Mitch Sutton out with an injury.
Sutton pulled his hamstring at Fresno State two weeks ago. In his absence, Miller now has rushed for more than 100 yards in three straight games.
And the 5-foot-8, 168-pound sophomore is holding up well.
"My body is good; I can do it," Miller said. "The offensive line did a great job and we just produced."
Earlier in the week, UND coaches believed Sutton had a chance to play. But the decision to hold him came shortly before UND chartered to Southern Utah.
UND's big stands
A key play came late in the second quarter when Dominique Hawkins and Erik Mersereau stopped SUU quarterback Brad Sorensen on fourth-and-1 at the Sioux 12.
Trailing 16-6, SUU coach Ed Lamb elected to go for the first down with less than a minute left until halftime.
SUU abandoned a good shot at a field goal, even though the Thunderbirds would get the ball to start the third quarter.
For SUU, it was the third failed fourth-down attempt of the half.
In the fourth quarter, SUU, trailing 26-13, went for it again on fourth-and-1 at the Sioux 16. But Kenny Watkins broke up a Sorensen pass intended for Jared Ursua.
UND dodged a bullet in the second quarter on a strange penalty call.
After SUU closed the gap to 16-6, Hawkins fumbled on UND's kickoff return. SUU recovered, but the play was negated after the Thunderbirds were called for blocking below the waist on the kickoff.
That's a rare call.
"I'm glad they called it," UND coach Chris Mussman said. "That was a huge break."
Special teams costly
SUU's special teams struggled in the first half, and UND caplitalized.
SUU punter Tate Lewis fumbled the ball out of the end zone on a punt attempt early in the first quarter, resulting in a UND safety.
Two possessions later, Jake Allie couldn't hold the snap on a 39-yard field goal attempt. Kicker Colten Cook recovered the ball but was brought down at the SUU 49. Four plays later, quarterback Joey Bradley hit Greg Hardin for a 26-yard touchdown pass and a 16-0 UND lead.
The Sioux also benefited on the short drive by a 15-yard personal foul penalty on SUU.
Notes and quotes
- UND's defense was led by linebacker Dan Hendrickson, who was in on 13 tackles.
- Hendrickson on Daryl Brown's interception in the final minute to seal the win: "I looked back to see if there were any flags and there weren't. Then I started to celebrate like a little school boy."
- UND's win snapped a five-game Great West Conference losing streak. The Sioux also didn't win a road game last season.
- UND's offense was held to minus-four yards in the third quarter.
- UND's defense held SUU to 23 rushing yards on 33 attempts.
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