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UND FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: UND vs. Sacramento State

Sacramento State is making the best of a difficult situation. The Hornets have been hit hard by injuries at running back. But on Saturday, they capitalized on the play of 225-pound junior Brandon Kellermann, who rushed for 119 yards and a touchdo...

Sacramento State is making the best of a difficult situation.

The Hornets have been hit hard by injuries at running back. But on Saturday, they capitalized on the play of 225-pound junior Brandon Kellermann, who rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown in the Hornets' 31-7 win against UND.

Kellermann, a converted linebacker, also posted his first 100-yard rushing game -- ever.

Kellermann picked up much of the running duties after starter Jordan Robinson went down earlier in the game. Robinson was Sacramento State's fourth-string back entering the game.

"This was Brandon's first 100-yard rushing game and I'm not just counting college, but high school, too," said Sacramento State coach Marshall Sperbeck. "He was more of a linebacker than a running back in high school. He was our fifth-string running back, but in the second half he was the only left because the other four are hurt."

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The Hornets finished with 176 rushing yards on 49 attempts.

Kellermann's longest run was a 36-yarder.

Defensive progress

In back-to-back home losses against Montana and Montana State, UND's defense received considerable heat.

But the unit has performed better the past three weeks.

Against Sacramento State, UND gave up 378 yards. UND gave up 408 and 374 yards the past two weeks against Eastern Washington and Idaho State. In blowout home losses against Montana and Montana State, UND allowed 609 and 586 yards, respectively.

"We're flying around a lot more," said UND safety Will Lewis. "We're not making as many little mistakes as we did in earlier games."

Still, that's little consolation.

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"We need maturity," said Lewis. "We need to be ready at the start of the game."

Notes and quotes

UND coach Chris Mussman: "On paper, we had a chance to win that game. To go out there and play as flat as we did for the first half, I can't understand it." ... Sacramento State had a whopping time-of-possession advantage (37:05 to 22:55) ... The Hornets went up 17-7 late in the first half by capitalizing on a seven-minute, 99-yard drive ... Sacramento State linebacker Todd Davis: "Our defensive line was getting home to the quarterback all game. Defensive-wise, it maybe was our best game of the year." ... UND rushed for only 49 yards. At Sacramento State last year - a UND win - North Dakota finished with 294 yards. ... The final word from Mussman: "We have to go back to work. Some kids have to grow up and some have to quit pouting when they don't get the ball. All we can do is come back to work. We have four games left and no one is going to feel sorry for us. We have a chance to play spoiler in a couple of situations and we can have fun in doing that."

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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