I didn't really mention in the game summary that Scottie Miller had a huge game. He scored 3 times, twice on big plays deep in the middle of the North Dakota secondary. The young man can run and he's a football player.
After the game, coach said the Fighting Hawks were really focused on Ronnie Moore, which opened some space up for Miller, which he and Knapke took advantage of effectively.
Moore left the game with an injury, but coach said it was a thigh bruise and he expects him to be OK. He did not mention (or was not asked) about Coppet, or Austin Valdez who left the field after UND's last touchdown.
I felt like BG made two huge blunders from a coaching standpoint.
Having Miller return the missed long FG was crazy. If he had run it out BG could have been deep in its own territory and even by downing it BG started at the 20. If the ball had been allowed to drop in the end zone, we would have had the ball on the 37.
The other was BG's last two possessions. BG seemed really to be in a run the clock out mode and it totally gave UND a chance to make that drive. This is one of the disadvantages of using an offense like this...you need to grind out a couple first downs on the ground, and you just don't have that in your arsenal.
It is kind of like playing prevent offense. Two first downs--even one--on that last drive and the game is over. I just think you need to open the playbook a little. Jet sweep, high percentage passing play, something that isn't running into a crowded box--especially since BG had not run effectively well during the game.
To the point, those last drives were 1:57 and 1:04 (with UND timeouts).
Coach said after the game that Knapke is the starter. He said "he was to play well" and I think that's a key statement. Knapke makes some plays, he just doesn't make nearly enough. He misses reads, takes sacks, and is not an accurate thrower. As I said last night, it isn't all him. There are issues all over the offense, from receivers to the line to the running game to, I assume, new and learning coaches.
Here's the thing. If Morgan was demonstrably better, he'd be in there. He was highly touted and he has a big arm, but if he was clearly outshining Knapke, he'd be in there.
Random: UND ran more plays than BG.
Antonio Sotolongo had a big game with 11 tackles. Valdez had 10.
It was good to have Gus Schweiterman back. He had 4 tackles, 3 sacks, and all the tacklers were for a loss. He also had the huge sack late in the game that was wiped out due to defensive holding.
Ben Hale didn't play. No idea what was up there.
North Dakota had no turnovers. BG had 3.
I felt that a key point of the game came in the first quarter. BG had scored on its second and third drives and appeared to be setting up the rout. Meanwhile, North Dakota did not have a first down. BG drove down the field on a 16 play drive, converting two fourth downs, got the ball to the 15 and then took a big sack on first down.
BG ended up going for a 30-yard FG and missing. It seemed to energize UND, who made four first downs on their next drive--which stalled--but that was where the game turned from blowout to dogfight.
That late score by BG in the 2nd quarter was critical. You get the ball with 1:43 left and its only 14-10. If you don't score, you come out with UND getting the ball down 4....its a different half. (They did score and would have been ahead).
Instead BG found Scottie Miller for another long, quick strike--credit to him, Knapke, the offensive line and the offensive coaches. That one they got done.