Minot State University turned the ball over early — and often — Saturday afternoon and the University of Minnesota Duluth made the Beavers pay dearly for it.
The No. 9 Bulldogs took advantage of three Minot State miscues to go up 17-0 a little more than four minutes after the opening kick off and went on to rout Minot State 52-0 in a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference matchup at James S. Malosky Stadium.
On the second play of the afternoon, senior cornerback Kenny Chowa sacked Minot State quarterback Zac Cunha, forcing a fumble which was picked up and returned by UMD senior defensive end Chris Vandervest to the Beaver one-yard line. Junior running back Austin Sikorski then plowed in for a touchdown on the Bulldogs’ first snap to give UMD all the scoring it would eventually need.
On Minot State’s next possession, sophomore David Boegel blocked Brian Gutierrez’s punt and recovered it at the Minot State one-yard line and Sikorski again hit paydirt one play later to make it 14-0. Minot State, which was making its first-ever appearance in Duluth, fumbled once more on the ensuing series and the Bulldogs parlayed that turnover into three points — a 35-yard field goal by sophomore Andrew Brees. So, just like that UMD had itself a 17-0 lead with still 10:48 to go in the first quarter and had run only six offensive plays.
Junior tight end Taylor Grant, who transferred to UMD this fall from the University of North Dakota, hauled in a pair of touchdown receptions — his first two as a Bulldog — from senior quarterback Drew Bauers. Sophomore running back Logan Lauters, sophomore quarterback Eric Kline and senior running back Steve Ierulli all rushed for one score for the Bulldogs, who moved to 6-1 on the year and remained one game back of front-running Minnesota State University-Mankato in the NSIC standings.
Nine different Bulldogs had carries in the victory with Sikorski leading the way (14 rushes for a game-high 77 yards).
UMD, which gave up 45 points and nearly 700 yards of total offense last week in a win at Minnesota State University-Moorhead, did a 180 today defensively, holding the Beavers to minus-35 yards on the ground and just 138 yards overall.
“Last Saturday, we had a rough day on defense so this week the coaches really got after us to be more aggressive,” said freshman linebacker Beau Bates, who came off the bench to register a career-high five total tackles, including 2.5 stops for a loss.
UMD, which is now 43-1 in its last 44 NSIC home games, will be at Bemidji State University next Saturday afternoon.
Note: Article submitted by UMD SID Bob Nygaard