UND offense continues to sputter as South Dakota knocks off Fighting Hawks 20-13

UND managed just 258 yards of total offense and scored just one offensive touchdown for the second week in a row as South Dakota beat the No. 13 Fighting Hawks 20-13.

UND's Bo Belquist (1) tries for more yardage after making a catch against the South Dakota defense during Saturday's game in Vermillion. Photo/South Dakota Athletics

VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of North Dakota football team came to the DakotaDome on Saturday looking to rediscover the offense that pushed the Fighting Hawks to the FCS quarterfinals last spring.

Instead, the Hawks rediscovered the offense of last week.

UND managed just 258 yards of total offense and scored one offensive touchdown for the second week in a row as South Dakota beat the No. 13 Fighting Hawks 20-13 in front of 5,304.

"You've got to play better," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "You have to be emotionally ready to play. We went behind 10-0 and played catch-up all day ... and didn't stay on the field long enough offensively. We have to eliminate those 5-yard penalties. We address it and work at it, but you have to do it."

The Fighting Hawks dropped to 2-3 overall and 0-2 in the Missouri Valley Football Conference with difficult road trips to Southern Illinois, Missouri State and South Dakota State still left on the schedule.


A week after an emotional 16-10 loss to North Dakota State in a rowdy Alerus Center, UND appeared to struggle to recreate the same energy the Hawks displayed against one of the FCS' annual powers.

"Everyone in this locker room is ready to play every single game," UND wide receiver Brock Boltmann said. "Every game is important. We know that. We have to string together some wins and get back on track."

UND linebacker Jaxson Turner said the Hawks have to find a better way to create energy on the road.

"We won't play another game like (UND-NDSU) this year probably, so we have to bring the energy ourselves," Turner said.

UND's lone touchdown was Tommy Schuster's 14-yard pass to Boltmann late in the first quarter. Schuster finished with 208 passing yards on 24-for-37 passing and the Hawks only ran for 50 yards.

Running back Otis Weah, who ran for more than 160 yards and two touchdowns against the same Yotes last spring, carried 15 times for 58 yards. He had a long run of 11 yards.

UND scored six points on field goals by Brady Stevens, who played in his first college game because starting kicker Adam Stage didn't travel to Vermillion for an unknown reason. Stevens, who has primarily handled strictly kickoffs in his career previously, hit from 41 and 25 yards.

South Dakota running back Travis Theis carried 23 times for 138 yards. The Yotes went to Theis on their final drive, and he delivered as UND couldn't stop the clock due to using two of the team's three timeouts before the late-game sequence.


After Stevens hit his second field goal to cut the Yotes' lead to 20-13 with about six minutes left, UND's defense couldn't get the stop it needed.

Theis rattled off runs of 22 yards on the first play of the drive and later had scampers of 10 and 8 yards. USD was able to kneel out nearly the entire final two minutes of game clock.

UND had six penalties for 50 yards including four first-half false start calls.

"We're going to the cadence and maybe there was a bit of interference from our opponent," Schweigert said. "We have to focus better. We're working on it, but we have to eliminate those. They're really hurting our football team."

The Hawks' defense was strong much of the game but spotted the Yotes a 10-0 lead after giving up scores on each of the first two drives of the game.

USD started the scoring with a 7-yard touchdown connection between quarterback Carson Camp and wide receiver Caleb Vander Esch. The Yotes tacked on a 37-yard Mason Lorber field goal to take the 10-0 lead with 3:36 left in the first quarter.

The Hawks weathered the storm, however, answering with Boltmann's touchdown catch late in the first quarter. With no scoring in the second quarter, the teams went to halftime with the Yotes holding a three-point lead.

Offensively, UND was 2-for-11 on third downs.

Miller has covered sports at the Grand Forks Herald since 2004 and was the state sportswriter of the year in 2019 and 2022.

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, or on Twitter at @tommillergf.
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