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Tom Miller / Forum News Service, Published August 24 2013

Bartels named starting QB for UND's season opener

GRAND FORKS – All along, the University of North Dakota football coaching staff has said both Ryan Bartels and Joe Mollberg will see playing time at quarterback in the season opener Thursday night against Valparaiso.

But someone has to be labeled the starter.

UND coach Chris Mussman said Bartels has received that designation.

After a tight battle throughout fall camp, Mussman opted to go with the redshirt freshman from Sycamore, Ill.

“We chart every throw and it’s really close,” Mussman said. “We thought in the end that Ryan had a slight edge. We had to make a decision and that’s the decision we’ll go with.”

Bartels, a 6-foot-3 right-hander, won the competition out of fall camp due to his strong arm and sound decision-making.

Mollberg, who’s also a 6-foot-3 redshirt freshman, will also play against Valparaiso. Mollberg was highly recruited out of Detroit Lakes, Minn.

“We expect that to be a competition for a while,” Mussman said.

UND hosts South Dakota State in Week 2.

McGill to redshirt

UND senior wide receiver R.J. McGill will redshirt this season and play his senior year in 2014.

McGill, of Phoenix, Ariz., played as a true freshman in 2010.

McGill, who has more than 800 career receiving yards, was forced to miss the last six games of last season with a knee injury. That injury has forced McGill to be sidelined for all of fall camp.

UND’s depth remains strong at receiver with returners Greg Hardin, Kenny Golladay and Jameer Jackson.

True freshmen to play

UND expects at least three true freshmen to play in the season opener.

Free safety Cam Kuksa, fullback Dustin Iverson and punter Mitch Meindel will see the field against Valpo, Mussman said.

“There are one or two more we’re contemplating,” Mussman said. “We’ll see.”

Miller writes for the Grand Forks Herald