Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department since 2004. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate.
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UND football coach Bubba Schweigert has made his first major coaching staff shakeup. Schweigert announced Monday offensive coordinator Paul Rudolph and offensive line coach Luke Knauf will not have their contracts renewed next season. Both Rudolph and Knauf have been with the program since Schweigert took over before the 2014 season.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.—UND football followers spent the week trying to decode what needed to happen for the Fighting Hawks to make the FCS playoffs. On Saturday, the UND football team took care of the most important angle of postseason scenarios. The Fighting Hawks didn't hold up their end of any postseason scenario by falling 31-16 to struggling Northern Arizona at Walkup Skydome in the regular-season finale. UND ended the regular season 6-5, while NAU finished 4-6.
1. Schweigert didn't feel QB change was right FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.—UND quarterback Nate Ketteringham struggled during Northern Arizona's 31-16 win over UND on Saturday at Walkup Skydome, putting an end to thoughts of an FCS playoff berth. Ketteringham was 13-for-29 passing for 109 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The Fighting Hawks elected not to make a move to replace Ketteringham with either backup—Andrew Zimmerman or Brock Boltmann.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.—Many of the recent FCS playoff scenarios circulating online by media prognosticators have been kind to UND. The common view is the Fighting Hawks as a first-round host. The only issue for UND and coach Bubba Schweigert? This is all assuming a victory. UND (6-4 overall) needs to beat Northern Arizona (3-6 overall) Saturday (3:30 p.m. kickoff) in order to boost the chances of reaching the postseason for just the second time in the program's Division I history.
The UND football team's final roadtrip of the regular season this weekend features a charter flight to Flagstaff, Ariz., which would be a 1,600-mile, 25-hour car ride from Grand Forks. For most other programs, the lengthy travel would be a primary storyline and talking point. But when the Fighting Hawks face Northern Arizona at 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon, it's just business as usual for a UND program that has had to learn to play well in far-away places during its tenure in the Big Sky Conference.
With one regular season game remaining, the UND football team sits on the FCS tournament bubble. After a wild weekend of surprising results, the only thing for certain is that the Fighting Hawks (6-4 overall) will need to beat Northern Arizona (3-6 overall) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Flagstaff to remain in consideration for the 24-team field.
1. Bennett's sack total keeps climbing UND defensive end Mason Bennett finished with 1.5 sacks during UND's 17-10 win over Portland State on Saturday at the Alerus Center. That pushed Bennett's season total to 8.0 sacks. The junior from Winnipeg is now within .5 sacks of the school's Division I record for sacks in a season held by Ross Brenneman, who had 8.5 in 2011. Bennett's total currently ties Bobby Stroup (2006) and Mark Turgeon (1981) for seventh in UND's all-time single season sack record.
Lenny Nelson's 58-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter sparked UND to a 17-10 win over Portland State on Saturday afternoon at the Alerus Center. The Fighting Hawks improved to 6-4, with one game left in the regular season. UND finishes the regular season at Northern Arizona. UND quarterback Nate Ketteringham scored UND's lone offensive touchdown with a 1-yard run in the first quarter to start the scoring.
Portland State football coach Bruce Barnum was singing the praises of UND coach Bubba Schweigert earlier this week. "Bubba's always got a tough football team," Barnum said. "The only time you catch a Bubba team is when he's got some injuries." Barnum was probably referencing UND's injury-riddled 2017 season in which the Fighting Hawks went a disappointing 3-8. But the sentiment still might make UND fans cringe.
Many UND football fans will consciously recognize Saturday afternoon as probably the last time to see four-year star running backs John Santiago and Brady Oliveira play for the Fighting Hawks in Grand Forks. It's justifiable. Santiago and Oliveira will go down as one of the program's all-time best tandems. They sit in the Top 10 of UND's all-time record books in yards and touchdowns.