The Fighting Hawks gave it their best shot through three quarters out in Seattle but ultimately couldn’t overcome the Huskies. Washington used their talent/depth advantage to pull away from UND in the fourth quarter and cruised to a 45-3 victory.
It was an encouraging start to the game but a disappointing finish.
- It was apparent that UND was going to try and throw short, get positive gains on first down, and try and move the sticks that way. They did get some positive gains on first down but against a team like Washington you have to hit the big one eventually. 10+ play drives aren’t going to happen much.
- Little known fact: UND had ZERO penalties in the game. Very nice to see.
- UND was 3-18 on third down. Woof.
- UND did get one big play in John Santiago’s electrifying 69 yard run. UND spread them out and got hat-on-hat inside the box to spring Santiago. Nice play design. Also, it’s the running backs job to make the safety miss and John did that on this play.
GO JOHN GO! 🏃♂️💨
— UND Insider (@undinsider) September 8, 2018
More Santiago: here is his highlight reel catch/run where he made several defenders miss.
👀 Oh my… 👀
— UND Insider (@undinsider) September 8, 2018
- The UND defense could have played much better than they did. When talking to DC Eric Schmidt after the game one word was used multiple times: sloppy. He is undoubtedly referring to several third down’s where UND had the right defense called but took poor angles or bit on boot/toss-action away, which should not happen.
- Washington had 79 yards rushing through three quarters – showing that UND is once again playing well vs. the run. Once the Hawks defense got wore down and had to sub guys in the flood gates opened a bit in the fourth quarter. The Huskies ended the game with 195 yards rushing.
- The UND defense forced three 3-and-outs and netted two interceptions (Hayden Galvin and Hayden Blubaugh). Two of those 3-and-outs were to start the second half and led to UND’s only score of the game, a 20 yard field goal from Brady Leach (his first career FG).
- About that field goal – yes, UND could have gone for it on 4th down from the 3 yard line. But at that point they needed points, any way they could get them. They had three chances to score from the four yard line and got one yard. Kick the field goal, make it 17-3 and play defense. No problem with that decision. (For the record: we disagree on the above the statement made by Kelly. Craig feel’s we should have gone for the TD on 4th down)
- Could they have thrown a different route on the goal line to their tall receivers? Yes, but they didn’t so take the points.
- Speaking of which – we NEED more back-shoulder fades to our 6’4″ WR’s. I mean we need them, bad. It’s such a demoralizing route for the corner when it works and it moves the chains. Also, UND needed to threaten down the field a few times in the passing game. Have to take a few shots to loosen up the defense.
- It appeared that Santiago was let loose from the backfield on circle & option routes on the linebacker a couple times. Total mismatch. We’ve called for this since last season. Kudos, once again, to OC Paul Rudolph on using his assets appropriately. The wrinkles and evolution offensively are apparent through two weeks.
- Running back screen game has to get better. No excuses. UND tried a couple times unsuccessfully – even though we do think QB Nate Ketteringham gave up early on a RB screen that was setup nicely.
- We liked that UND went for it on 4th and 1 from the 49 yard line. RB James Johannesson ended up getting stuffed for no gain. There was a big hole to his right but JJ is a power back and decided to drop the plow to get the 1 yard. Can’t fault him for that.
- We are not sure what the plan is at kicker and punter but something needs to be evaluated. We understand they are freshman. However, that cannot be an excuse when you eventually get in a tight game and need a field goal or a big punt while backed up. Neither of those two things are going to happen right now. Senior transfer Warren Taylor can and did fill in on Saturday so they may be OK at punter. But Brady Leach needs to find some confidence soon because coming up short on a 43 yard field goal is not an option. It will force OC Paul Rudolph to now go for it any time they are in the 25-35 yard line range.
- Injury update: We know that CB Hayden Blubaugh got rolled up on and has a light leg injury. ILB Noah Larson tweaked his hamstring and will be evaluated this week. RB Brady Oliveira was banged up coming into the game but played a little. He should be ready to go. Overall, I believe UND made it out of the game alright.
Game is over – 550K is in the bank and we’re on to #4 Sam Houston State. If UND want to make the FCS playoffs they need this game. The playbook needs to be emptied down in Huntsville because the upcoming Big Sky schedule is pretty solid. We are already breaking it down & we’ll tell you this right now: the Hawks can definitely win this one in a tough environment where the Bearkats have won 21 in a row.
Photo courtesy of Maxwaugh.com (https://www.maxwaugh.com/2018/09/08/2018-husky-football-washington-45-north-dakota-3/)