Second half surge propels UND past third-ranked South Dakota State
GRAND FORKS, N.D (Valley News Live) – Host No. 14 North Dakota outscored third-ranked South Dakota State, 21-3, in the second half to earn a 28-17 Missouri Valley Conference win at the Alerus Center Saturday.
SDSU (1-1, 1-1 MVFC) needed just five plays to march the field on the opening drive, taking a quick 7-0 lead. UND (2-0, 2-0 MVFC) dodged a bullet later when the Jackrabbits were poised to make it a two-touchdown lead when a dropped pass set up a field goal try that the Fighting Hawks blocked. The UND special teams had a blocked kick, a blocked punt and a huge kickoff return to start the second half that kickstarted things for North Dakota as it trailed, 14-7, at the break.
Luke Skokna punched one in from a yard out on the opening drive of the second half to tie it and later Tommy Schuster would hook up with Garret Maag for a 16-yard touchdown pass to give the Hawks the lead for good late in the third.
Otis Weah spun out of multiple tackles and raced 40 yards to the endzone to provide the winning margin with just under seven minutes to go.
SDSU appeared to have one last breath of life with just over five minutes to go when Preston Tetzlaff picked off Schuster, but the Jacks trailed by 11 with no timeouts left. Ray Haas made a spectacular diving interception on the very next play from scrimmage as North Dakota grinded out the clock and celebrated its highest win over a nationally-ranked team since joining NCAA Division I.
Schuster finished the day 20-for-32 for 184 yards passing and a touchdown. Maag led the receivers with five catches for 87 yards and a score while Weah produced 88 yards on the ground on 17 touches with two scores.
Noah Larson had seven total tackles to lead a Fighting Hawks defense that generated three turnovers and three sacks. Josh Navratil was all over the field as well in the win, totaling five tackles and a huge sack on third down to keep the Fighting Hawks in front during the fourth quarter.
Jaxson Turner picked a crucial time for his first sack of the season, busting through on a blitz, sacking the QB and forcing a fumble that was recovered by Griffin Lickfeldt on the opening drive of the final period to keep the Hawks in front, 21-17.
North Dakota has a quick turnaround with a third straight home game coming in five days against South Dakota at Alerus Center. Kick is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on MidcoSN and the Home of Economy Fighting Hawks Sports radio network.
For more news on UND football, visit FightingHawks.com. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @UNDfootball
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