WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published September 19, 2010, 03:02 PM

Fighting Sioux Capture Eighth Straight Potato Bowl Win

UND gets first victory of season, 55-14

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The 9,719 fans in attendance may have seen something new in the pre-game presentation, but what they saw on the field afterward can only be described as old-fashioned, hard-nosed North Dakota football. In their 2010 home opener and annual Potato Bowl USA game, the Fighting Sioux trounced the RiverHawks of Northeastern State 55-14.

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Greg Hardin (Bellevue, Neb.), who had a record-setting game at Northern Illinois last Saturday, demonstrated his big-play ability in the first quarter, hauling in a 19-yard scoring pass from Jake Landry (Grand Forks, N.D.), then taking a handoff 63 yards to paydirt on the ensuing possession to put UND ahead 14-0.

Landry finished 10-for-14 for 145 yards to lead UND to a season-high 509 yards of total offense, including 357 rushing yards.

Junior running back Josh Murray (Pepin, Wis.) scampered for 131 yards on 13 carries, including a 9-yard run late in the first quarter that built a 21-0 lead for the Sioux.

“The line did a great job of opening up some huge holes for us today,” Murray said. “Even moving downfield, we were getting some great blocks to open up even more space.”

On NSU’s final drive of the first quarter, senior Ross Cochran (Kenosha, Wis.) stepped up with a big quarterback sack that pushed the RiverHawks back 10 yards. Cochran brought the quarterback down for a second time in the third quarter and tied his season-high two sacks set two years ago at Southeastern Louisiana (Sept. 27, 2008).

In his UND debut, true freshman Jake Miller (Bismarck, N.D.) finished with 77 yards on 11 carries, including a pair of touchdowns. He helped UND take a 31-0 lead to the locker room at halftime with a 1-yard touchdown run. The score followed with a 37-yard Zeb Miller (Ankeny, Iowa) field goal in the second quarter.

By halftime, UND had amassed 357 yards of total offense, including 220 on the ground, while holding NSU to 81 yards of offense.

It was Miller time again in the third quarter, as kicker Zeb Miller split the uprights from 28 yards out, and Jake Miller notched his second scoring run of the game with a 39-yard jaunt to the end zone. Brent Goska (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.), in relief of Landry, found the end zone from one yard out with 3:51 left in the third quarter, putting the Sioux ahead 48-0.

Linebacker Dan Hendrickson had a lot to do with NSU’s inability to gain much-needed yardage. The junior from Minot, N.D., racked up eight tackles, including several highlight-reel stops on kickoff coverage, and added a fumble recovery in the first three quarters of play.

“Yeah, they were a DII team, but it was still a physical game,” Hendrickson said. “At the end of the day, it’s not about the other team, it’s about us. We just need to go out there every week and do the same things, no matter who we are playing against.”

With one more tackle in the final stanza, Hendrickson finished with nine total stops and tied his single-game high set last weekend at Northern Illinois (Sept. 11).

Though holding a solid lead, the Sioux never once lessened the intensity.

“We wanted to keep them off of the board as long as we could,” Cochran said. “We knew that would couldn’t let up to matter what because comebacks to happen.”

But theenHenBut the RiverHawks did manage to save themselves from a shutout. At 7:56 of the fourth quarter Cale Fulps hooked up with Ben Randle for a 7-yard scoring strike to put them on the board for the first time.

UND freshman running back Spencer Bickel (Minot, N.D.) replied with a 2-yard touchdown plunge with 3:14 remaining. NSU added a late scoring run to make it a 55-14 final.

The Sioux improve to 1-2 on the season and will remain at home to host Northwestern State next Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m. at the Alerus Center.

GAME NOTES: Captains: Jake Landry, Ryan Kasowski, Joel Schwenzfeier, Jarrel Davis ... North Dakota leads the series against Northeastern State 1-0 ... When playing on Sept. 18, UND is 9-3 overall, 6-1 at home and 4-2 on the road ...

Since 1965, the Fighting Sioux are 34-11 when playing in the annual Potato Bowl USA game. The Sioux have won their last eight Potato Bowl USA games ... With the win over Northeastern State (Sept. 18), head coach Chris Mussman’s career record shifted to 13-11, his conference record remained at 3-4, and his record against non-conference moved to 10-7 ... All-time, the Fighting Sioux are 603-360-30 (.607) on the gridiron ... The ­­Nov. 13 game at Montana will mark the 1000th football game in UND history.