UND FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Sioux put road woes in rear-view mirror
GREELEY, Colo. -- A year ago, UND struggled to find ways to win games. The Sioux finished 3-8 as they were unable to make plays late in the game. That's changing this season as UND picked up its second road win of the year, a 27-25 win Saturday a...
GREELEY, Colo. -- A year ago, UND struggled to find ways to win games.
The Sioux finished 3-8 as they were unable to make plays late in the game.
That's changing this season as UND picked up its second road win of the year, a 27-25 win Saturday against future Big Sky opponent Northern Colorado.
After Patrick Walker's 88-yard touchdown pass gave the Bears a 25-24 lead with less than four minutes to go, the Sioux responded. Dominique Hawkins' 59-yard kickoff return led to Zeb Miller's 54-yard field goal with 1:52 to go.
"That shows the maturity of our team, how much we're able to overcome things from last year," UND senior quarterback Brent Goska said. "Last year, we would have been the team that found a way to make a mistake.
"Today wasn't pretty, but we got the job done."
UND coach Chris Mussman has noticed a change in maturity as well.
"Our demeanor doesn't get negative on the sideline when bad things happen to us," Mussman said. "Last year, you could see that we started to get down when things went against us."
UND's pressure on Northern Colorado quarterback Seth Lobato was heavy all day.
A few times the Bears had momentum on offense, but the Sioux responded with a heavy pass rush that caused Lobato to fumble three times.
Ross Brenneman, Ben Peters and Ben Henson recovered the fumbles.
But Brenneman said the pressure from the edge was a big factor in the linemen recovering the fumbles.
"Our guys off the edges were so fast," Brenneman said, referring to Myles Jablonski, Johnnie Daniels and Cordero Finley. "They work so well together. That made it easier for us on the line."
A week ago, Goska came off the bench and nearly delivered an improbable win against Cal Poly.
He earned a start as a result of his performance and he was steady all day against Northern Colorado.
He completed 18-of-30 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown.
His longest was a 41-yarder to Greg Hardin, who caught 8 passes for 91 yards.
The 41-yard pass, however, had a strange end to it. While running after the catch, Hardin fumbled but Sioux receiver Tyhre Ivery was there to scoop up the ball. Ivery ran to the UNC 21. Goska then scored a few plays later for a 14-7 UND lead.
"There were a lot of good plays on both sides," Goska said. "It was a battle back and forth all day."
Another tough loss
Northern Colorado played well a week ago against No. 4 Montana State, losing 31-21 at home.
The Bears were close again Saturday, but it was another stinging loss for a program trying to turn it around under first-year coach Earnest Collins Jr., who is in his first season at his alma mater.
At his postgame press conference, an emotional Collins said the season is taking its toll.
"Our seniors are doing a good job for us," Collins said. "I want to see them get a win."
Notes and quotes
- UND played without receiver R.J. McGill, who injured his knee last week against Cal Poly.
- Zeb Miller made his first 11 field-goal attempts before missing one from 41 yards in the second half. He later had one blocked. "He drove the ball on the kick he got blocked," Mussman said.
- Northern Colorado had possession of the ball for only 6 minutes, 10 seconds of the second half. UND owned a 42:35 to 17:25 advantage in time of possession.
- UND's first touchdown, a 3-yard Jake Miller run, came when the Sioux elected to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the UNC 3. A week ago against Cal Poly in a similar situation, the Sioux took a field goal.
- Mussman on UNC's Walker: "He's a special player. He could be effective for any team in the FCS."
- After Zeb Miller's 54-yard field goal, Northern Colorado couldn't pick up a first down and the Sioux ran out the clock. Jay Nelson deflected Seth Lobato's fourth-down pass to seal the win.
- Seconds after Goska's scoring run in the first half, a military helicopter took off at the other end of the field. It was military appreciation day at UNC.
- The thin Colorado air certainly didn't hurt Zeb Miller's 54-yard field goal to win the game. The ball had a few yards to spare as it cleared the crossbar.