CEDAR CITY, Utah - The University of North Dakota came to the scenic Cedar Valley with a bruised ego, which resulted from last week's home loss to NAIA power Sioux Falls.
The change of scenery didn't help. UND's ego is still bruised, and now its chances of winning a Great West Conference championship have been largely shattered as well, thanks to Southern Utah's convincing 35-10 win against the Sioux on Saturday before 4,238 fans at Eccles Coliseum.
UND (3-4, 1-1 GWFC) now has the challenge of playing league power Cal Poly this week at home. One loss doesn't mean UND's chance at a conference title is over. But things will have to change in a hurry if the Sioux hope to finish their second Division I FCS season on a high note.
"We'll go back home, come up with a game plan and prepare like we always do; that's all we can do," UND coach Chris Mussman said. "We'll try and win some games. If we keep at it and eliminate the self-inflicted wounds and the mistakes we've been making, we'll have a chance to win some games."
UND's offense is in a major funk. The Sioux finished with 338 yards, but 110 came in the fourth quarter when backup quarterback Brent Goska took over for starter Jake Landry.
"We had opportunities, but we missed them," Sioux senior receiver Ryan Konrath said. "We got 10 points but should have had more than that. We have to catch balls and make blocks. We have stuff to work on.
"The conference goal is out of the way, but every game from here on out there is an opportunity for a win and a chance to get better."
Southern Utah, a team many believe is the most improved in the Great West, had UND on its heels for much of the game. The Thunderbirds, led by quarterback Cade Cooper's 295 passing yards and four touchdowns, scored on their first possession. Southern Utah went up 14-0 early in the second quarter on Cooper's 6-yard scoring strike to Fesi Sitake.
But UND managed to regain its composure and made a charge.
After Brandon Hellevang's 26-yard field goal, Southern Utah botched a punt attempt deep in its own territory.
The Sioux had a first-and-goal at the Southern Utah 9 but couldn't convert.
On third-and-goal from the SUU 2, Landry hit Catlin Solum out of the backfield. Solum ran into the end zone, and the Sioux thought they were back into the game.
North Dakota 0 3 0 7 - 10
S. Utah 7 14 7 7 - 35
SUt - Poots 7 pass from Cooper (Griffith kick)
SUt - Sitake 6 pass from Cooper (Griffith kick)
NDAK - FG Hellevang 26
SUt - Minefee 10 pass from Cooper (Griffith kick)
SUt - Poots 9 pass from Cooper (Griffith kick)
SUt - Vonner 12 interception return (Griffith kick)
NDAK - Goska 8 run (Hellevang kick)
A - 4,238.
First downs 13 23
Rushes-yards 34-212 34-107
Passing 126 345
Comp-Att-Int 10-25-2 32-46-1
Return Yards 2 52
Punts-Avg. 7-45.4 6-50.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 2-1
Penalties-Yards 4-94 9-84
Time of Possession 25:16 34:44
RUSHING: North Dakota, Landry 12-81, Goska 10-74, Sutton 11-54, Bamba 1-3. S. Utah, Gray 11-75, Minefee 13-44, A.Olsen 2-11, Apilli 2-5, Cooper 2-(minus 12), Team 4-(minus 16).
PASSING: North Dakota, Landry 6-19-2-81, Goska 4-6-0-45. S. Utah, Cooper 31-45-1-295, A.Olsen 1-1-0-50.
RECEIVING: North Dakota, Konrath 4-69, Anderson 2-24, Sutton 2-10, Dressler 1-14, Dombrovski 1-9. S. Utah, Minefee 8-61, Sitake 7-102, Poots 7-61, Jessop 5-97, J.Ursua 1-13, Siliva 1-5, Aiono 1-4, Williams 1-2, Peterson 1-0.
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