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No snoozing by Sioux 'D'

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - A sleeping woman on the Jumbotron as evidence, the dragging pace of the game and another sluggish offensive performance had fans at the University of North Dakota's homecoming football game groggy by the second quarter Saturday.

8-yard touchdown

GRAND FORKS, N.D. - A sleeping woman on the Jumbotron as evidence, the dragging pace of the game and another sluggish offensive performance had fans at the University of North Dakota's homecoming football game groggy by the second quarter Saturday.

Then the Sioux's defense gave them a jolt.

No. 4-ranked UND allowed 113 total yards in the second half, and kept Minnesota State Mankato out of the end zone with a seven-play goal-line stand with less than a minute remaining in a 24-3 North Central Conference victory before 11,463 fans at the Alerus Center.

"Defensively, we did what we had to do," said Sioux coach Dale Lennon, whose team improved to 6-0. "We knew coming in we had to be extremely patient. Overall, I think we performed very well on defense."

UND's offense was another story.

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The Sioux opened with an eight-play, 67-yard scoring drive on its first possession to take a 7-0 lead. Redshirt freshman running back Ryan Chappell capped the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run up the middle.

A 6-yard touchdown run by Brandon Brady put UND ahead 14-3.

UND held a 17-3 halftime lead thanks to a defense that kept Mankato out of the end zone on two trips inside the Sioux 5-yard line.

UND's offense did just enough in the first half, led by senior quarterback Chris Belmore. Belmore was 12 of 15 for 123 yards before halftime.

Despite Belmore's accuracy, the Mavericks kept UND from completing long passes in the first half.

"They are a very good defense," Belmore said. "We just didn't play the way we were capable of."

The Mavericks' offense was entirely one-dimensional.

Using five wide receivers much of the game, Mankato passed 57 times. Quarterback Ben King completed 30 of his attempts for 270 yards.

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However, the UND defense allowed only small chunks of yardage at a time to keep the Mavericks out of the red zone in the second half until less than two minutes remained in the game.

That's when the defense had its finest moment.

With the ball at the Sioux3-yard line following a 93-yard kick return, Mankato gained only 1 yard on six plays on its final possession.

The threat was stopped when senior linebacker Steve Brennan - a former West Fargo High School standout - made a fourth-down tackle at the 1-yard line.

"We had opportunities inside the 10, and we just couldn't punch it in," Mavericks coach Jeff Jamrog said. "That's not good."

Sophomore tight end Blair Grover scored the first touchdown of his career on a 3-yard pass reception from Belmore to make the score 24-3 with 1:29 remaining. The play was set up by a 36-yard run by Chris Beatty on a fourth-down fake punt.

The Sioux defense allowed 275 total yards. Other than the long kick return, Mankato's longest play was27 yards.

"As a secondary, we don't want to give up that big play," UND senior strong safety Tom DeSautel said. "Today we didn't give it up."

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MSU Mankato 3 0 0 0- 3

North Dakota 7 10 0 7-24

UND-Chappell 8 run (Hellevang kick), 8:45.

MSU-FG Spencer 24, 3:10.

UND-Brady 6 run (Hellevang kick), 3:12.

UND-FG Hellevang 24, 0:00.

UND-Grover 3 pass from Belmore (Hellevang kick), 1:29.

TEAM STATISTICS

MSU UND

First downs 17 21

Rushes-yards 11-5 42-175

Passing yards 270 173

Return yards 174 58

Passes 30-57-1 17-25-0

Punts 5-34.4 5-38.0

Fumbles-lost 0-0 2-2

Penalties-yards 8-55 7-51

Time of Possession 26:21 33:39

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: MSU, Smith 1-9, Bryant 3-8, Phipps 1-1. Ficcadenti 1-0, Walker 1-(minus 1), Alberty 1-(minus 5), King 3-(minus 7); UND, Chappell 19-84, Beatty 2-39, Dressler 1-19, Belmore 14-18, Brady 3-11, Strouth 2-4, Sorbo 1-0.

PASSING: MSU, King 30-56-1-270, Bryant 0-1-0-0; UND, Belmore 17-25-0-173.

RECEIVING: MSU, Bryant 8-69, Dalton 7-83, Alberty 7-59, Smith 7-49, Smedberg 1-10; UND, Dressler 3-40, Trenbeath 3-33, Groeschl 3-24, Tatom 3-26, Chappell 2-19, Grover 2-16, Kusler 2-15.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562

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