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Fighting Hawks dismiss revenge angle for upcoming Idaho State game

GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota football program isn't embracing any revenge angle to the matchup with Idaho State on Saturday. A year ago, Idaho State upset UND 37-31 in Grand Forks. The win was the Bengals' lone Division I victory...

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University of North Dakota running back Brady Oliveira (5) runs against Southern Utah linebacker Mike Needham (34) for a gain in the first half of SaturdayÕs game against Thunderbirds at Alerus Center during the homecoming game in Grand Forks, N.D. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)

GRAND FORKS - The University of North Dakota football program isn't embracing any revenge angle to the matchup with Idaho State on Saturday.

A year ago, Idaho State upset UND 37-31 in Grand Forks. The win was the Bengals' lone Division I victory in 2015 and likely cost the Fighting Hawks a spot in the FCS playoffs.

"We don't talk about it," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "We're into 2016. It's different teams, different players and a different situation. We want to work really hard to stay on top of the Big Sky standings."

UND, 5-2 overall and 4-0 in league play, travels to Pocatello, Idaho, for a 2:35 p.m. kickoff at Holt Arena.

"We're just focused on our next opponent," UND wide receiver Demun Mercer said. "It's a new test ahead of us. We're a new team; they're a new team. We're just looking forward to playing them on Saturday."

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Idaho State sits in a similar position as a year ago. The Bengals, 2-4 overall, are reeling after a 52-7 loss at Northern Arizona on Saturday. The previous week, ISU lost 45-20 at Portland State in a game in which the Vikings didn't complete a pass.

The Bengals rank 12th in total offense in the Big Sky and 10th in total defense.

UND, meanwhile, is on the rise in the national rankings.

UND is ranked No. 19 in the latest STATS FCS poll and No. 16 in the FCS' coaches poll. The No. 16 ranking in the coaches poll is the Fighting Hawks' highest ranking in the Division I era.

The Fighting Hawks moved up three spots from No. 22 last week after Saturday's 45-23 win over Southern Utah at the Alerus Center.

North Dakota State, which lost to South Dakota State last Saturday, dropped from No. 1 in the STATS poll to No. 4.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019.

His primary beat is UND football but also reports on a variety of UND sports and local preps.

He can be reached at (701) 780-1121, tmiller@gfherald.com or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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