If you’re a Bengals fan you had one heck of fun homecoming weekend. If you’re a Hawks fan, well…..that sucked.
In what surprised most people around the country, Idaho State rolled UND by a score of 55-20 in a game that got away in a hurry and left more questions than answers.
UND falls to 3-3 on the season and desperately needs to hold serve at home the rest of the season to have a shot at the playoffs.
This was arguably the worst defensive performance we have seen in our many years of watching UND football. I didn’t use the term “effort” because I don’t actually question the effort of the players but the overall ‘focus’ and ‘want-to’ wasn’t there on Saturday. If it was they wouldn’t have given up 48 points (ISU had a defensive TD). Frankly, Idaho State isn’t that good.
The Bengals had 609 yards of offense on the day.
Giving up that long kickoff return after the opening Johannesson TD, which setup the Bengals first score of the day via field goal, was telling of things to come. The UND kickoff unit had been superb coming in but got washed down and then missed an open field tackle that sprung Malaki Rango for 74 yards.
The entire UND defense accounted for two TFL’s and zero sacks. It’s quite telling when a team that typically lives in the backfield couldn’t get any pressure on Matt Struck, who ended the game with 396 yards and 5 TD’s vs 0 INT’s. We said coming in that Struck’s mechanics go to heck when pressured but the UND front couldn’t do much of anything on Saturday.
Offensively, the Hawks came out firing on their initial series – marching 75 yards in surgical fashion to take a 7-0 lead. The passing game looked great, protection was there, and receivers were catching the ball. It slowly deteriorated from there, however.
The second drive was littered with penalties (two false starts) and ended when UND rightly went for it on 4th and 11 but only got 9 yards when Garett Maag’s in-route was ran short of the sticks.
The third drive died when UND had an illegal shift and back-to-back false starts all in a four play span. From that point on the offense sputtered until the game was out of reach.
UND Drive Chart – First Half
The Hawks ended the game with 452 yards of offense but as we pointed out kept shooting themselves in the foot and couldn’t sustain drives like they had in previous weeks.
There weren’t many highlights in this one so not much to talk about on either side of the ball.
The road woes that this team have incurred in 2019 are astounding. UND has given up 80 points in the first half of their three road games. 80. There is no way to overcome that. I realize they had a tough flight schedule the day before and got to bed around midnight but that doesn’t explain losing to Idaho State 55-20 and having 12 penalties for 102 yards.
Punter Cade Peterson had a good day – pinning the Bengals inside the 1 yard line on a beautiful pooch punt that was downed by Maag.
Here’s the deal – even though that was an awful, no-good, very bad football game, UND is still sitting at 3-3 on the season. They have five games left with three of them being at home. They need to get to 7-4 for a shot at the playoffs.
Next up, however, is another long tedious flight – this time to San Luis Obispo to take on the Cal-Poly Mustangs. The Mustangs are sitting at 2-4 on the season and just got thrashed by UC-Davis 48-24. Poly does still run the triple option, which can always give a team fits if they aren’t fully prepared.
Like we said – MUST WIN GAME. A UND loss on Saturday means the fat lady will undoubtedly be warming up.
Photo courtesy of Idaho State Athletics.