Saturday's college football game


National rankings: UMD is ranked No. 23 in the American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division II poll and No. 18 by; Sioux Falls isn’t ranked.

Series: Sioux Falls leads 2-1, including a 26-7 victory on Aug. 31, 2017, at Malosky Stadium in Duluth.

Coaches: Curt Wiese is 68-13 in seven seasons at UMD; John Anderson is 29-11 in three seasons at Sioux Falls.

Outlook: UMD is coming off a 21-7 homecoming victory over Wayne State as the Bulldogs defense collected seven sacks — all in the second half — including 2.5 from junior outside linebacker Nate Pearson of Lake Nebagamon. Pearson leads UMD with seven sacks on the season. … Sophomore Garrett Olson was 8-for-9 passing for 48 yards and a touchdown, while freshman Keegan Calchera was 5-for-10 passing for 52 yards filling in for the injured John Larson, who could return today. Wade Sullivan added a pair of short touchdown runs, while junior Cazz Martin led all rushers with 68 yards. … UMD finished with a 291-106 advantage in yards, including 175 to 30 on the ground. The Bulldogs held Wayne State to negative-5 yards after halftime. … Sioux Falls is coming off a 52-14 victory at Minnesota-Crookston as senior quarterback Caden Walters was as efficient as they come, going 16-for-18 passing for 277 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Ja’Tai Jenkins led the rushing attack with 14 carries for 92 yards while Walters added six carries for 57 yards and two more scores. After UMD’s secondary got torched two weeks ago by Minnesota State-Mankato, look for Sioux Falls to try to exploit the Bulldogs outside on what should be an excellent day for throwing the football. However, if UMD plays like it has in every other game this season, and if Larson returns, this could turn into a stellar football game.

Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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