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Wayne Nelson / Forum Communications Co., Published October 31 2010

College football: Sioux get back on track

GRAND FORKS – Brent Goska said his teammates began to trust him more in the second half. Jarrel Davis, however, said he had faith in Goska much earlier.

Goska’s performance in UND’s 31-6 win against Lamar on Saturday at the Alerus Center before 6,238 fans was one that earned him trust from all of his teammates as the Sioux junior made his first career start at quarterback.

“I talked to Brent early in the week and I asked him, ‘How do you feel about it?’ ” Davis said. “He said I don’t get shaken up easily. And he backed that statement up. As a quarterback, he brought out the best in his team and that’s what he’s supposed to do.”

Goska, starting in place of the injured Jake Landry, rushed for 95 yards and completed 18 of 24 passes for 229 yards in managing a Sioux offense that racked up 462 yards of offense. The win improved UND to 3-5 and it also broke a three-game losing streak.

The highlight of the win, however, was Goska’s play. And it will be Goska that will lead the Sioux as they close out their season against three straight quality FCS programs – UC Davis, Montana and South Dakota State.

“I did all right,” Goska said. “But there are a lot of things I can work on. There were a few passes that were completed that could have been better throws. There could have been a few better decisions, maybe doing a better job with checks at the line of scrimmage. And the fumble at the end of the game will eat at me a little bit.”

Goska’s fumble at the goal line cost the Sioux a touchdown, but it didn’t matter. The Sioux had taken control much earlier, breaking open a 14-6 game at halftime with 17 third-quarter points.

“It feels good to win again,” UND coach Chris Mussman said. “That locker room was a lot of fun to be in a few minutes ago.”

With Landry suffering a season-ending knee injury a week earlier at Cal Poly, UND’s plan was to take advantage of Goska’s hard-nosed running ability. His strength isn’t passing, but Goska showed he can deliver the football to the right place.

He connected with Davis on a 57-yard scoring play late in the second quarter, a touchdown that gave UND a 14-6 halftime lead.

The play gave UND the distance it needed against Lamar, which is in its first season of football in 20 years.

“It was a 5-yard hitch,” Davis said. “As I caught the ball, I was expecting a hit. But the hit was low and real soft. So I stepped out of it and saw nothing but open field. I’m taught to run and that’s what I did.”

UND had a productive third quarter. Zeb Miller’s 28-yard field goal made it 17-6. Goska scored on a 10-yard run later in the quarter, capping an efficient eight-play, 52-yard drive. And freshman cornerback Chris Hall scored on a

20-yard interception return for a 31-6 lead with 1:49 left in the quarter.

“If you want to look at how to win a game, watch our first quarter,” Lamar coach Ray Woodard said. “If you want to look at how to lose a game, look at our third quarter. We didn’t do anything well in all three phases of the game. But that’s a credit to North Dakota.”

Lamar 0 6 0 0 – 6

North Dakota 0 14 17 0 – 31

Second Quarter

L– M.Jackson 36 pass from Bevil (kick failed), 14:53.

UND – Murray 13 run (Z.Miller kick), 13:38.

UND – Davis 57 pass from Goska (Z.Miller kick), 3:02.

Third Quarter

UND – FG Z.Miller 28, 11:20.

UND – Goska 10 run (Z.Miller kick), 6:51.

UND – Hall 20 interception return (Z.Miller kick), 1:49.

A – 6,238.

UND LAMAR

First downs 18 22

Rushes-yards 34-116 40-223

Passing 149 229

Comp-Att-Int 16-31-3 18-24-0

Return Yards 0 85

Punts-Avg. 6-37.5 3-37.0

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-2

Penalties-Yards 10-145 9-153

Time of Possession 31:43 28:17

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Lamar, Asante 15-63, Bevil 5-56, Logan 9-15, Hussey 3-14, Prewitt 1-(minus 6), Team 1-(minus 26). North Dakota, Goska 16-95, Sutton 16-76, J.Miller 5-35, Murray 3-17.

PASSING: Lamar, Bevil 13-25-3-113, Prewitt 2-5-0-9, Ekpe 1-1-0-27. North Dakota, Goska 18-24-0-229.

RECEIVING: Lamar, Powdrill 6-53, Davis 3-21, Hayes 2-5, M.Jackson 1-36, Laramore 1-15, Prejean 1-13, Logan 1-6, Crissmon-Stewart 1-0. North Dakota, Sutton 5-73, Hardin 5-49, McGill 3-9, Anderson 2-30, Davis 1-57, Solum 1-9, Murray 1-2.


Wayne Nelson writes for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.