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UND uses 34-point halftime lead to roll past Montana

UND players and coaches on the sidelines react to Evan Holm's takeaway from Montana's Samori Toure in the first half Saturday to set up a Fighting Hawks touchdown. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service1 / 6
UND's Garett Maag catches a touchdown pass as Montana's Dareon Nash defends Saturday at the Alerus Center. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service2 / 6
North Dakota wide receiver Noah Wanzek catches a touchdown pass late in the first half against Montana Saturday. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service3 / 6
Noah Wanzek, left, and Garett Maag celebrate Maag's touchdown in the first half. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service4 / 6
UND's Mason Bennett tries to tackle Montana quarterback Dalton Sneed in Saturday's game at the Alerus Center. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service5 / 6
UND players (from left) Lenny Nelson, Jaxson Turner, Noah Larson, Austin Cieslak and Tank Harris celebrate Evan Holm's takeaway in the first half. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service6 / 6

GRAND FORKS — Earlier this season, the University of North Dakota football team considered tweaks to second-half warmups in order to stop a trend of midgame funks.

On Saturday, Oct. 13, the Fighting Hawks could have just napped at halftime.

If that wasn't fun enough for UND fans, the first-half flurry came against No. 22 Montana, a traditional Big Sky Conference power that has dominated this matchup in recent years.

UND led 21-0 after one quarter, 34-0 at halftime and raced to a 41-14 win in front of 10,497 at the Alerus Center.

UND, which improved to 4-2, registered the program's largest margin of victory against a ranked opponent in the Division I era. The Griz dropped to 4-3.

"Coming from Sac State, we got our butt kicked against Montana," said transfer UND quarterback Nate Ketteringham, who lost 68-7 to Montana with Sacramento State in 2016. "That was kind of fun to do it back to them. It was fun to come out and dominate them like that."

Ketteringham started the game 7-for-7 for 101 yards. He had 210 passing yards, four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown by halftime. He ended with a season-high 254 passing yards.

Montana quarterback Dalton Sneed, who was sacked three times, was picked off by Deion Harris on the third play of the game. The Griz fumbled the next kickoff. Later, Montana fumbled on the 1-yard line.

That was all done in the first five minutes of the game.

After the goal-line fumble—a botched handoff on a fullback dive—UND marched on a 98-yard drive. On third-and-17, Ketteringham hit freshman Garret Maag on a 45-yard touchdown pass and a 21-0 lead with just under five minutes to go in the first quarter.

"Fantastic," UND cornerback Evan Holm said of the start. "It was 21-0 in the first and that doesn't happen often. Last year, they kind of kicked our butts. It was nice to take it to them."

The Hawks had another surge late in the half. With 2 minutes, 20 seconds to halftime, Ketteringham hit Izzy Adeoti for a 55-yard touchdown pass as a Montana cornerback fell down on the play. Adeoti's score, UND's season long this year, gave UND a 27-0 lead.

Two plays later, Sneed passed to the sideline to Samori Toure. Holm went in for the tackle and stripped the ball away, returning the ball 25 yards to the Montana 10.

On the next play, Ketteringham found Noah Wanzek for a touchdown pass and a 34-0 lead.

"Bubba did a great job and had them ready to go," Montana coach Bobby Hauck said. "They got after us from the opening series. They had us up against the wall. Good job by them. They utilized their open date well. They kicked our tail.

"We're a real average football team. If we don't play at optimum level and don't take care of the football, we can't win. Four turnovers in the first quarter? It's never over 'til it's over, but that made it extremely difficult."

UND travels to Sacramento State next weekend.

"We need to beat programs like this for where we want to take our program," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "We have another good opponent next week."

Tom Miller

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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