Game 2: Looking for a cleaner job
A quick glance at statistics from Minnesota Duluth's 20-13 victory last week over Concordia-St. Paul show that the Bulldogs rushed for 302 yards on just 40 carries.
A quick glance at statistics from Minnesota Duluth’s 20-13 victory last week over Concordia-St. Paul show that the Bulldogs rushed for 302 yards on just 40 carries.
That’s enough to please just about any college football team, but stats can be deceiving. Take away a few long runs and the Bulldogs’ attack was much more pedestrian.
UMD is looking to execute with more offensive efficiency, in particular on first down, when the Bulldogs play Augustana in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game at 1:05 p.m. today in Sioux Falls, S.D.
“We had some issues with communication between me and the offensive line last week,” said UMD sophomore quarterback Drew Bauer, who rushed 15 times for 85 yards and the team’s lone rushing touchdown last week. “That’s kind of what slowed us down, but the good news is that everything is fixable.”
Bauer would like to be sharper in the passing game, too, after going
8-for-21 for 82 yards and a touchdown last week.
Bauer said UMD spent extra time looking over last week’s game film to correct the issues. Concordia’s defensive coordinator is Todd Strop, who served as UMD’s defensive coordinator during the Bulldogs’ run to a second NCAA Division II national championship in 2010. Strop threw a couple wrinkles at UMD’s offense that the Bulldogs weren’t quite expecting.
“Coach Strop went against this offense a lot, and he knows a lot about what we’re about,” Bauer said. “But that has nothing to do with our execution. We should still be able to execute. Our bread and butter here at UMD is running the ball, and we have to continue to be able do that.”
Bauer said it basically works like this: he identifies what defense the opponent is in, he communicates it to his teammates as to how to block it, they communicate with each other, and then it’s everyone’s job to go do it.
“It comes down to identification, communication and execution, and we have to do a better job with that this week,” Bauer said. “Hats off to our defense. Our defense definitely kept us in that game and ended up being why we won.”
BEND BUT DON’T BREAK
UMD allowed 362 total yards last week and had a hard time containing Concordia quarterback Corey Cole, but whenever the Golden Bears closed to within scoring distance, UMD’s defense tightened.
Cole finished with 177 rushing yards and a touchdown and added 130 passing yards, but in a losing effort.
“Our defense played a really good football game against a physical football team,” UMD coach Curt Wiese said.
Wiese credited junior cornerback Darion Fletcher for having the best game of his UMD career. He added that senior Daryl Grown, in his first year with the Bulldogs after transferring from North Dakota, also was solid.
UMD faces another challenge this week in Augustana sophomore quarterback Tre Heid, who threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns in a 54-0 rout at Minnesota-Crookston. Heid is in his second year as the Vikings starter and also runs with the ball.
“We need to be better all-around this week, but the bottom line is we won,” Wiese said.
Former Duluth Denfeld star C.J. Ham got off to a great start with 16 carries for 146 yards and two touchdowns in Augustana’s shutout over Crookston.
Ham, a 6-foot-1, 238-pound junior, has rushed for just over 400 yards in each of the past two seasons.
Ham’s backfield mate, Dajon Newell, is the older brother of UMD freshman running Jamiah Newell. The Newells hail from Lakeville, Minn., which is also Heid’s hometown.
MULTITASKING IS A BREES
UMD played without five players last week after they were suspended for one game following a Labor Day weekend party. None would have started but four would have played. The other is out for the season with an injury.
That, coupled with other bumps and bruises, meant it was all hands on deck at Malosky Stadium last week.
That even meant junior kicker Andrew Brees, who served as the team’s fourth wide receiver against Concordia while sophomore Tyler McLaughlin helped with kicking duties. Brees returns as the Bulldogs’ starting kicker this week while being the sixth wide receiver in their rotation.
Wiese was asked if the suspensions had any effect on last week’s game.
“I don’t know,” Wiese said. “You’d like to think not, but in the same sense, football is a game of depth. You start running out of depth when you start getting in the second, third and fourth quarters and guys are tired, especially in the first game, where they are not game conditioned yet and it can wear on them.”
No. 3 Minnesota Duluth (1-0) at Augustana (1-0)
What: NSIC game
When: 1:05 p.m. today
Where: Kirkeby-Over Stadium
TV: Midco Sports Network in select markets
Radio: KQDS-AM 1490 (105.5 and 106.7 FM on Iron Range)
MINNESOTA DULUTH AT AUGUSTANA
r National rankings: UMD is No. 3 in the American Football Coaches Association NCAA Division II poll and No. 4 in the D2Football.com poll; Augustana is unranked.
r Series: UMD leads 7-2. The Bulldogs have won six straight in the series, including a 42-34 victory in the teams’ last meeting in 2012 after UMD took a 35-6 lead into halftime.
r Coaches: Curt Wiese is 12-2 in his second season as UMD’s head coach; Jerry Olszewski is 5-7 in his second season as Augustana coach. He was previously head coach at St. Olaf in Northfield, Minn., going 32-18 in five seasons.
r Outlook: Sophomore quarterback Drew Bauer rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown and threw for 82 yards and another score to lead UMD to a 20-13 victory over Concordia-St. Paul in last week’s season opener at Malosky Stadium. The game featured no turnovers. Junior Logan Lauters added 14 carries for 165 yards, with 46 coming on a late rush that essentially put the game away. Cornerback Daryl Brown, a newcomer to the lineup, had some key pass breakups, including a late one to help preserve the win. … Sophomore Trey Heid threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns and Duluth native C.J. Ham added 146 rushing yards and two more scores to lead Augustana to a 54-0 victory at Minnesota-Crookston last week. The Vikings amassed 595 yards total offense. … UMD should benefit from the return of senior running back Austin Sikorski, who was stabbed after an altercation in downtown Duluth last week. While Sikorski is eased back into it, sophomore Beau Bofferding continues to be listed as No. 2 on the Bulldogs’ depth chart.