UND FOOTBALL: Win this weekend could change game for Sioux
Life on the road hasn't been easy for UND since the Sioux became a Division I Football Championship Subdivision program in 2008. The Sioux are 4-10 in Division I FCS road games -- their last win coming at the end of the 2009 season when UND ralli...
Life on the road hasn't been easy for UND since the Sioux became a Division I Football Championship Subdivision program in 2008.
The Sioux are 4-10 in Division I FCS road games -- their last win coming at the end of the 2009 season when UND rallied for a 17-16 win at Central Arkansas.
A win Saturday at Southern Utah in the Great West Conference opener not only would help ease the program's road woes but it also would be the closest thing to a program-defining win for UND since the Sioux moved up to Division I football.
"Our program needs to build," UND coach Chris Mussman said. "We haven't had that signature win yet. We had the Cal Poly win at home a couple of years ago. Now we need to go get one on the road.
"That's the challenge to us as a football program. Let's go out to nationally ranked team's house and see if we can get a win."
UND is ranked No. 24 this week, while Southern Utah -- backed by its 41-16 win against UNLV last week -- is No. 19 in the FCS coaches' poll. It will be the first top 25 match-up for UND since becoming an FCS program.
The game, however, has more significance than a match-up of top 25 teams.
In a short, four-game Great West Conference season, there is no room for error.
"Our goal is to win the conference championship," UND quarterback Joey Bradley said. "It would be nice to start 1-0 and keep the power in our hands."
Southern Utah and UND have played four times. The first meeting came in 2007, the final Division II season for UND. The Sioux won 37-10 against a team that eventually fired its coach.
Under Ed Lamb, however, Southern Utah has been a program on the rise. The Thunderbirds have beaten UND three straight years -- 15-14 in 2008, 35-10 in 2009 and 31-21 last year.
Last season, UND led 14-0 before Southern Utah rallied. In 2008, UND again held a 14-0 lead before the Thunderbirds left the Alerus Center with a win.
"It's one of those teams that seems to have good fortune against us," Mussman said.
This will be the last season of Great West Conference football. But UND and Southern Utah will continue to meet as future Big Sky Conference members.
Winning the last Great West title is the goal for both the Sioux and SUU.
"This is the atmosphere you want to play in," Mussman said. "It's the type of game we want to be in. Our guys have to understand this is where we need to be and where we want to be."
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Who: UND at Southern Utah.
When: 2 p.m. Saturday, Cedar City.
Radio: The Fox (96.1 FM).
Records: UND 2-2; Southern Utah 3-1.
Of note: UND has lost five straight Great West Conference games.