UND football: Sioux no typical FCS foe

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech has played a Division I Football Championship Subdivision program once each season for the last four years -- games the Red Raiders typically have won going away.

Texas Tech's Rajon Henley, left, brings down North Dakota's Jake Landry during their NCAA college football game Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. (AP)

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Texas Tech has played a Division I Football Championship Subdivision program once each season for the last four years -- games the Red Raiders typically have won going away.

When Tech's fifth straight FCS opponent -- UND -- came to Jones AT&T Stadium on Saturday night, another typical blowout was expected.

But UND's performance wasn't typical of most other FCS teams that made the trip to Lubbock.

The Sioux -- in a game that will be remembered for many reasons -- stayed toe-to-toe with Big 12 Conference member Texas Tech most of the way before falling 38-13 on a pleasant West Texas night.

It was a signature game in UND's move to Division I. The Sioux, a Division II program two years ago, left feeling good about their performance and also impressed the Red Raiders.


"I've got nothing but good things to say about those guys,'' Texas Tech defensive end Daniel Howard said. "They came in and played their hearts out.''

In the last four years, Tech has handled four FCS opponents, including:

- Eastern Washington, which fell 49-24 last season in Lubbock.

- Northwestern State of Louisiana, a team that left a 75-7 loser in 2007.

- Southeastern Louisiana, which lost 62-0 in 2006.

- Sam Houston State, a 60-21 loser in 2005.

In its four previous games against FCS opponents, Tech won by an average score of 61-13.

But the Sioux found themselves trailing 28-13 early in the fourth quarter. UND had the ball in Tech territory at that point but couldn't sustain a drive that could have made the game a lot more interesting.


There were a lot more positives than negatives for UND as they headed out of Lubbock.

The Sioux offense, with nine new starters, had success moving the ball at times. And their defense -- highlighted by Joel Schwenzfeier's three interceptions -- held Tech to 445 yards of offense, roughly 100 less than the Red Raiders averaged last season. Schwenzfeier's performance earned him Great West Conference defensive player of the week honors.

UND came up with one goal-line stand and nearly had another. But Tech quarterback Taylor Potts -- on second effort -- scored on a 1-yard run late in the third quarter for a 28-6 lead.

"I don't think (Potts) got in," UND coach Chris Mussman said.

Mussman challenged the officials' ruling on whether Potts crossed the goal line, but it was upheld. There were a handful of challenges during the game from both Mussman and Tech coach Mike Leach, who called his team's performance "average. Slightly above average probably."

But it was an above average performance by UND, which now has a week off to prepare for its game at Northwestern State on Sept. 19.

Sioux players and coaches soaked in the Big 12 atmosphere.

"It was great," Mussman said. "I loved it. We walked out of the tunnel and we were getting harassed. They had all these kids lined up on the side dressed in black that spelled 'A Boy Named Sioux.' I thoroughly enjoyed it and I know our players had a good time."


Injury update

Sioux receiver Ryan Konrath did not fly home with the team. He was taken to a Lubbock hospital after taking a hit. It's expected he'll return home this week but is out indefinitely. UND did not specify his injury.

Otherwise, UND appeared to come out of the game in fairly good health.

"Just the normal bumps and bruises," Mussman said.

But the week off will benefit the Sioux.

UND's charter plane did not land in Grand Forks until approximately 4 a.m. on Sunday.

Nelson reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1268; (800) 477-6572, ext. 268; or send e-mail to .

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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