The Hawks started flat and ended flat on Saturday in a game that certainly hurt their playoff hopes.

Thunder Lake Lodge

The South Dakota Coyotes jumped on UND early 10-0 and never looked back in taking a 20-13 win. UND dropped to 2-3 on the season while USD improved to 4-2.

The Good

UND won the special teams battle by a decent margin even though the plays didn’t amount to much. Jayson Coley blocked two punts with the first one coming at a great time in the first half as UND was only down 10-7. It setup the Hawks offense at the Coyotes 33 yard line and pretty much assured a field goal, at worst. It didn’t turn out that way.

The UND offense somehow lost 6 yards on the drive (due to a sack), which pushed them back out of field goal range. If UND does something there it changes the entire complexion of the game. Instead they got nothing and actually went backwards.

The next play Cade Peterson, who had an outstanding day checking up punts inside the 20, three total, rolled his punt into the end zone so after all was said and done UND only netted 19 yards.

The Hawks defense seemed to find it’s footing at the end of the first quarter into halftime and kept UND in the game. They ended with three sacks on the day and pressured QB Carson Camp consistently.

The Bad

Where to begin. I have no idea what is going on with the UND offense this fall. I sound like a broken record but this thing is disjointed and off-kilter. The Hawks only put up 258 yards of offense vs USD. That is really bad considering the Coyotes are not that good of football team. Their defense is solid, yes, but 258 is borderline embarrassing.

UND netted 50 yards rushing on 19 carries. This stat is a major, major issue. No explanation needed.

UND had 3 first downs via the ground game. USD had 14.

Add four more false starts to the tally as the Hawks were jumping at inopportune times again on Saturday. UND jumped on 3rd and 1, 3rd and 2, and 4th and 5 when they were going for it in USD’s end. Absolutely devastating to have those happen, especially when your offense is sputtering.

By my count, UND has 13 false start penalties in 5 games. I can speak definitively when I say that certain 8th grade teams do not jump more than once per game on average.

The Hawks shook up their offensive line by sliding Donny Ventrelli back to RT, Easton Kilty back down to RG, and Ben Christian to LG.

Another factor that hurt on Saturday was that it sounds like the USD defensive line was mimicking the snap call by Tommy Schuster, which led to at least one false start by Easton Kilty. Bubba referenced it in his post-game comments when he stated via the GF Herald, “We’re going to the cadence and maybe there was a bit of interference from our opponent.” UND needs to be better disciplined at the same time.

The UND run defense was poor on Saturday and it shouldn’t have been. The Yotes ran for 189 yards on 46 carries and churned out first downs at a steady rate. The Hawks needed a stop at the end to get ball back with less than 5 minutes remaining and could not stop them, thus never getting the ball back. Yotes RB Travis Theis was their plow horse, rushing 23 times for 138 yards and was very tough to bring down initially.

USD abandoned throwing the ball in the 3rd quarter because they couldn’t protect Camp and frankly, didn’t need to pass. That right there is a bigtime red flag when a team decides they don’t need to throw anymore because the UND offense won’t/can’t threaten their small lead. This is the second week in a row a team has done this and succeeded.

This type of play calling eliminates any chance at a turnover, as well. Opponents are not taking any chances so bad things aren’t happening.

The Hawks were 2-11 on third down.

It’s getting down to nut-cutting time for the Hawks. If they want to be a contender they better turn things around quickly. UND can only afford one more loss and they have #4 Southern Illinois this weekend down in Carbondale. That is not ideal as the Salukis are playing good football and just beat #2 SDSU in Brookings. Plus, they are going to be out for blood after the butt-whooping UND put on them in the spring.