Courtesy of North Dakota Athletics
GRAND FORKS, N.D.
- Led by junior quarterback Brent Goska, North Dakota snapped a three-game skid with a commanding 31-6 win over Lamar at the Alerus Center for Saturday’s Pink Ribbon Bowl.
With the non-conference win, the Fighting Sioux improved to 3-5 overall. Lamar dropped to 3-5.
After a silent first quarter, the Cardinals scored on the first play of the new quarter to take a 6-0 lead. UND’s answer came straightaway as they capped a five-play, 60-yard drive with a 13-yard rush by junior Josh Murray (Pepin, Wis.). Redshirt freshman Zeb Miller’s (Ankeny, Iowa) point after proved to be the game-winner as UND held Lamar scoreless for the remainder of the game.
Miller also landed a 28-yard field goal early in the third quarter to give UND a 17-6 advantage.
The Fighting Sioux finished with 223 yards rushing and 229 yard passing for 452 total offensive yards – the best offensive showing since the 49-24 win over Northwestern State on Sept. 25. Lamar was held to 116 yards on the ground and 149 in the air.
Coming off of the field with a big smile on his face, head coach Chris Mussman simply said, “You don’t know how good that feels.”
This was the first collegiate start for Goska. The junior from Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., moved into the starting position after senior Jake Landry (Grand Forks, N.D.) suffered a career-ending injury last Saturday at Cal Poly.
When asked to what impressed him most about Goska’s play today, Mussman summed it up in just one word, “Toughness.”
“He rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries and really gave us more of an ability to run the option more than we have in the past,” said Mussman. “I thought he did a great job of utilizing his skills. He did exactly what he thought he could do. He did exactly what we thought he could do.”
Goska finished 18-for-24 for 229 passing yards, including a career-long 57-yard touchdown pass to senior Jarrel Davis (Miami, Fla.).
“Jarrel did a great job on that catch,” said Goska. “We saw his speed and that’s what all of our receivers have out there now. It is very important for our offense to maintain control of the clock and the game from here on out.”
Goska also led the team on foot with 95 yards on 16 carries. Midway through the third quarter, he scored on a 10-yard run for his second-career rushing touchdown.
“Our runs were there because of our offensive linemen and the fullbacks picking up the linebackers,” said Goska. “It wasn’t that I did anything special, it was just that the holes were there.”
Sophomore running back Mitch Sutton (Plover, Wis.,) led the Sioux with 73 yards on five receptions. He also added 76 yards on 16 carries.
The Cardinals were led by quarterback Andre Bevil, who finished with 113 yards on 13-for-25 completions. Kwabena Asante finished with 63 yards on 15 carries and Josh Powdrill came away with 53 yards on six receptions.
For the fifth time this season, the UND defense was led by junior linebacker Dan Hendrickson. The Minot, N.D., native finished with seven tackles (six unassisted).
Redshirt freshman Dominique Bennett, a linebacker from DeSoto, Texas, proved his worth this afternoon finishing third on the team with a career-best four solo tackles. Bennett also picked up UND’s lone sack of the day when he chased down Lamar’s back-up quarterback Doug Prewitt early in the fourth quarter.
The Sioux defense also nabbed a trio of interceptions, including a pair from senior strong safety Joel Schwenzfeier (Hallock, Minn.). Schwenzfeier nabbed his first midway through the opening quarter and then on the final play of the half, he picked off a pass inside the end zone.
Redshirt freshman Chris Hall (DB, Jacksonville, Fla.) notched the third late in the third quarter and ran it 20 yards touchdown.
We’ll take a look at this one tomorrow and kind of put it to bed so that we can get ready for UC Davis,” said Mussman. “We don’t have a win yet in the conference and this is our chance to achieve some of our goals that we set at the beginning of the year.”
Next Saturday UND will host UC Davis in the home and Great West Conference finale. Kickoff is slated for Noon at the Alerus Center.