No. 7 EWU rocks UND
CHENEY, Wash. -- The University of North Dakota made its first trip to the field known as the Inferno on Saturday night.
The red artificial carpet at Roos Field didn't burn UND. Eastern Washington put the heat on UND.
UND was dominated in all phases, falling 55-17 to Eastern Washington in a Big Sky Conference game that left the Green and White searching for answers -- especially defensively.
UND dropped to 1-2 in the Big Sky and 3-3 overall. And it gets no easier for a program trying to find its way as a new member in one of the country's top FCS leagues. Surprising Northern Arizona comes to UND next week before the Green and White take on Big Sky heavyweights Montana and Montana State in back-to-back weeks.
Eastern Washington showed why it's ranked No. 7 in the FCS. Behind quarterback Vernon Adams, the Eagles' offense struck quickly and often, leaving UND playing catch up all night.
Adams, a redshirt freshman who took the starting job away from SMU transfer Kyle Padron a few weeks ago, led the Eagles on four lightning-fast first-half scoring drives.
His 25-yard scoring pass to Greg Herd with 13 seconds left in the first half gave the Eagles a 34-17 lead at the break. The longest Eastern Washington first-half scoring drive took 2 minutes, 38 seconds. The other three took less than two minutes.
And then there was a back-breaking special teams' play from Eastern.
Shaquille Hill returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, a play coming after Zeb Miller's 37-yard field goal gave UND some hope as it trailed 13-10 late in the first quarter.
In four of UND's last five games, it has given up 176 points. Eastern didn't discriminate on how it racked up points. The Eagles were balanced as they rushed and passed their way to yards.
UND got the start it wanted.
The Green and White forced Eastern to punt on its first possession. UND then drove 59 yards on seven plays, a drive capped by Mitch Sutton's 2-yard run for a 7-0 lead.
Eastern took off after that. Herd caught a 28-yard scoring pass from Adams as the Eagles needed only 67 seconds to cover 59 yards.
UND's offense, meanwhile, couldn't generate much after its early score.
However, Braden Hanson, who started at quarterback in UND's opener, did play after recovering from his broken leg. He led UND on two scoring drives in the second quarter, one covering 79 yards in seven-plus minutes.
Hanson's 1-yard scoring run cut Eastern's lead to 27-17 with 1:29 to go. But Eastern roared back, scoring on Herd's 25-yard pass seconds before halftime.
Eastern controlled the second half as well. Demetrius Bronson's 1-yard scoring run with 7:47 to go left UND in a 55-17 hole. That scoring drive pushed Eastern over the 400-yard mark on offense.
The game took a back seat for UND in the third quarter.
Linebacker Derrick Goard went down with an apparent neck injury. The game was delayed for nearly 15 minutes as Goard was placed on a stretcher and taken to the Cheney hospital.
There was no immediate word on Goard's injury. But he did appear to give a thumbs-up sign as he was loaded into the ambulance.
UND 10 7 0 0 -- 17
EWU 20 14 14 7 -- 55
UND-Mitch Sutton 2 run (Zeb Miller kick), 10:30.
EWU-Greg Herd 28 pass from Vernon Adams (kick blocked), 9:23.
EWU-Ashton Clark 36 pass from Adams (Jimmy Pavel kick), 5:05.
UND-Miller 37 FG, 1:09.
EWU-Shaquille Hill 99 kickoff return (Pavel kick), :56.
EWU-Brandon Kaufman 12 pass from Adams (Pavel kick), 8:49.
UND-Braden Hanson 1 run (Miller kick), 1:29.
EWU-Herd 25 pass from Adams (Pavel kick), :13.
EWU-Clark 12 run (Pavel kick), 8:55.
EWU-Kaufman 9 pass from Kyle Padron (Pavel kick), 6:39.
EWU-Demitrius Bronson 1 run (Pavel kick), 7:47.
TEAM STATISTICS UND EWU
First downs 18 25
Rushes-yards 38-143 44-290
Passing yards 182 168
Comp.-Att.-Int. 20-34-0 15-20-0
Total yards 325 458
Fumbles-lost 3-2 1-0
Penalties-yards 4-35 5-37
Punts-Avg. 7-36 4-41
RUSHING: UND, Jake Miller 11-64, Jer Garman 12-56, Marcus Hendrickson 5-31, Sutton 5-7, Hanson, 5-(-15). EWU, Bronson 13-118, Quincy Forte 16-72, Adams 7-50, Cody Hecker 2-26, Herd 1-12, Nick Washburn 3-11, Padron 1-1.
PASSING: UND, Hanson 16-22-0 141, Marcus Hendrickson 4-12-0 41. EWU, Adams 12-15-0 151, Padron 3-4-0 17.
RECEIVING: UND, Jameer Jackson 9-74, Greg Hardin 4-32, Kenny Golladay 2-39, Seth Nichols 2-21, Jake Miller 2-11, Ethan Magstadt 1-5. EWU, Kaufman 5-47, Herd 3-56, Quincy Forte 3-10, Clark 2-40, Hill 1-11, Zack Gehring 1-4.