UND FOOTBALL: Sioux anticipate Sutton's return
UND football coach Chris Mussman expects his powerful running game to get a boost this week. Sioux junior Mitch Sutton, who suffered a hamstring injury three weeks ago against Fresno State, could return for Saturday's matchup against Montana West...
UND football coach Chris Mussman expects his powerful running game to get a boost this week.
Sioux junior Mitch Sutton, who suffered a hamstring injury three weeks ago against Fresno State, could return for Saturday's matchup against Montana Western at the Alerus Center.
"I talked to Mitch (Sunday) with the training staff and we're planning for him to be able to go," Mussman said Monday. "(Today) will be his first practice, and we'll stress him a little bit and see how he's doing."
Mussman emphasized that the Sioux won't be holding anyone out against the NAIA opponent.
"I anticipate him playing and plan on using him," Mussman said. "Everybody that is able to play is playing. We're going to do everything we can to win this game. We're going to throw everything at Montana Western in order to win a football game."
In Sutton's absence, backup Jake Miller has rushed for an average of 162.3 yards per game the past three weeks.
"Honestly, he's been a pleasant surprise," Mussman said. "When we lost our big back in Mitch, I was a little concerned. But (Jake) has been great. He's slight enough to hide behind our big bodies and move around."
UND's 26-20 win over Southern Utah in Cedar City on Saturday was memorable for a handful of reasons.
- UND hadn't won on the road since the final game of the 2009 season against Central Arkansas.
- The Sioux didn't win a conference game last year.
- It also was the first top 25 Football Championship Subdivision matchup for UND since the Sioux moved up to Division I football in 2008. The Sioux entered ranked No. 24 in the coaches' poll, while SUU was No. 19.
"Certainly it was a big win for our program," Mussman said. "It took care of some of those questions you have to answer week in and week out. We won't have to do that for a little while. More importantly, it gave our players confidence."
Sioux climb in poll
UND's win over the Thunderbirds helped the Sioux move up four spots to No. 20 in the latest FCS coaches' poll, which was released Monday.
In the Sports Network/Fathead.com Top 25 poll, the Sioux received 334 votes -- one spot outside the Top 25.
SUU fell to No. 22 in both polls. South Dakota was the highest-ranked Great West team in both polls, holding down the No. 18 spot in each poll.
North Dakota State is ranked No. 4 in the Sports Network/Fathead.com poll, while the Bison are No. 5 in the coaches' poll.
USD quarterback questionable for SUU
South Dakota may have to play its Great West Conference opener against visiting Southern Utah on Saturday without standout quarterback Dante Warren.
Warren injured his throwing hand Saturday in a 30-0 win against NAIA Lindenwood. Warren injured his hand on a 3-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He played two more offensive series, but left because he couldn't feel the football in his hand, South Dakota coach Ed Meierkort said.
Coyotes backup quarterback Josh Vander Maten, a redshirt freshman, was 8-for-12 passing for 77 yards in a relief role.