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Wayne Nelson / Forum News Service, Published September 14 2013

Montana cruises to win over UND

GRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota billed Saturday night’s showdown against No. 11 Montana as a Black Out, a plea for North Dakota fans to show up wearing black attire.

The game, however, should have been billed a Knock Out.

That’s because Montana delivered blow after blow in knocking out UND 55-17 before 9,726 Alerus Center fans.

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; we have the potential to be a good football team,” said UND coach Chris Mussman. “What we put out there today was not indicative of who we are. Everyone in our locker room is angry, upset, disappointed, whatever it might be. We have to deal with it and move forward.”

The game was a major reversal from Montana’s last visit to Grand Forks, as the Grizzlies clearly had the upper hand this time – dominating North Dakota in all phases. Montana walked off the field with last year’s record-setting UND win against the Grizzlies a distant memory.

The setback left North Dakota with a 1-2 record and the unenviable task of playing two more Big Sky powers ranked higher than Montana in the next month.

“We’re 1-2 – so what?” said UND captain Blair Townsend. “It’s a long season. We’ll play hard through this and keep our heads held high.”

UND beat the Griz 40-34 last season thanks to 704 yards of offense – 660 coming through the air. It was an electric come-from-behind win.

A year later, there was no UND electricity – not even a buzz – as UND suffered its worst loss in the Alerus Center and one of its more lopsided home setbacks in program history.

“This was an opportunity to show what we could do but we shot ourselves in the foot one too many times,” said Townsend.

UND got the start it wanted. Behind quarterback Joe Mollberg, UND scored on its first possession. Mollberg’s 15-yard scoring pass to Townsend capped the drive.

“It was a good start but the rest of the game tells the story,” Townsend said.

Montana 20 13 14 8 – 55

North Dakota 7 3 7 0 – 17

First Quarter

NDAK – Townsend 15 pass from Mollberg (Z.Miller kick), 12:13.

Mont – Van 70 pass from J.Johnson (kick failed), 11:14.

Mont – Henderson 52 pass from J.Johnson (Lider kick), 6:11.

Mont – Henderson 35 pass from J.Johnson (Lider kick), :40.

Second Quarter

Mont – Warren 22 pass from Naccarato (kick blocked), 6:49.

Mont – Canada 32 run (Lider kick), 3:09.

NDAK – FG Z.Miller 30, :51.

Third Quarter

Mont – Canada 2 run (Lider kick), 12:17.

NDAK – Golladay 23 pass from Mollberg (Z.Miller kick), 5:37.

Mont – Henderson 6 pass from J.Johnson (Lider kick), 1:27.

Fourth Quarter

Mont – Counts 51 pass from J.Johnson (Warren run), 11:49.

A – 9,726.

Mont NDAK

First downs 26 23

Rushes-yards 37-233 35-55

Passing 376 281

Comp-Att-Int 16-20-0 25-45-2

Return Yards 9 0

Punts-Avg. 1-38.0 4-45.8

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties-Yards 6-58 9-73

Time of Possession 27:19 32:41

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Montana, Canada 14-104, Van 10-72, Counts 7-26,

J.Johnson 4-21, Smithwick-Hann 1-7, Nguyen 1-3. North Dakota,

J.Miller 8-31, Garman 9-27, Shaugabay 5-10, Jackson 3-6,

Mollberg 8-(minus 1), Bartels 1-(minus 7), Team 1-(minus 11).

PASSING: Montana, J.Johnson 15-19-0-354, Naccarato 1-1-0-22.

North Dakota, Mollberg 25-43-2-281, Bartels 0-2-0-0.

RECEIVING: Montana, Henderson 5-124, Van 2-75, Walcott 2-43,

Warren 2-35, Counts 1-51, Jones 1-35, Harper 1-10, Wilson 1-4,

Hagfors 1-(minus 1). North Dakota, Jackson 9-86, Golladay 7-106,

Hardin 5-46, Townsend 3-33, J.Miller 1-10.

Nelson is the sports editor for the Grand Forks Herald