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Alerus hosts NCC game for last time

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The University of North Dakota has been a member of the North Central Conference since its inception more than 80 years ago. NCC games at UND have been a Saturday afternoon staple for years. However, the last NCC regular-seaso...

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GRAND FORKS, N.D. - The University of North Dakota has been a member of the North Central Conference since its inception more than 80 years ago.

NCC games at UND have been a Saturday afternoon staple for years. However, the last NCC regular-season game at UND will be played today when the Sioux host St. Cloud State in the Alerus Center.

The Sioux, ranked No. 7 in the country, need the win to keep their league title hopes alive. A win virtually locks up another NCAA Division II postseason appearance for the Sioux.

Next week, UND plays at South Dakota in the last week of the final NCC season.

Following the final play of next week's games, memories will be all that remain of the NCC - long considered one of the best leagues in NCAA Division II football.

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It's somewhat appropriate that UND's last regular-season league home game comes against an opponent that mirrors the Sioux program.

"The one thing you have to remember about St. Cloud is that their philosophy is not much different than our philosophy," UND coach Dale Lennon said.

Throughout the years, both teams have stressed defense, field position and an opportunistic offense.

But it's usually been defense first with both teams. Both programs have been solid defensively this season.

Two years ago, UND allowed an average of 13.2 points per game. In 2006, UND's defensive scoring average jumped to 18.7 points.

Through eight games this season, the Sioux are allowing 19.5 points, which ranks third in NCC scoring defense. St. Cloud is fourth at 20.4 points. However, UND leads the NCC in total defense by allowing 325 yards. St. Cloud is second at 336.6 yards.

The comparison between UND and St. Cloud ends with the their respective defenses.

UND may wind up with its best offense in school history, while St. Cloud is simply struggling. The Sioux average 526.4 yards of offense, which ranks first in the NCC and fourth in Division II. St. Cloud ranks last in league scoring offense (13.6 points) and eighth in scoring offense (287.1 yards).

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The Grand Forks Herald and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co. Alerus hosts NCC game for last time By Wayne Nelson 20071103

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