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Wayne Nelson / Forum News Service, Published October 19 2013

Sacramento State routs UND

GRAND FORKS – Supposedly, the back half of the University of North Dakota’s schedule is easier – one with winnable games against perceived middle-of-the-road teams in the Big Sky Conference.

After Sacramento State methodically routed UND 31-7 on Saturday at the Alerus Center, the middle of the pack may even be out of North Dakota’s reach.

Before a season-low 6,634 fans, UND turned in a dismal performance against a team it routed last season in California – a win that was North Dakota’s first as a Big Sky member.

UND dropped to 1-3 in the Big Sky and 2-5 overall. It was UND’s fifth straight loss at home, something that hasn’t happened since the 1975 and 1976 seasons.

A season that was so full of promise at the beginning of the year because of a favorable home schedule against marquee FCS programs now could be one of the program’s worst since the mid-1980s.

“We have two choices,” said UND coach Chris Mussman. “Much like in life, when adversity hits, what are you going to do? Are you going to stay in bed and feel sorry for yourself? Or are you going back to work?

“There is no magic formula. We talk about it every single day. We talked about it last night at dinner, in the locker room before the game. We talk about playing smart football. And we’re not.”

Sacramento State wasn’t flashy, just efficient as it did pretty much what it had to do throughout.

The Hornets, led by the demonstrative play of linebacker Todd Davis (eight tackles, two sacks, and an interception), led 17-0 at halftime and put the game away on Cole Hikutini’s

26-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Safron with

5 minutes, 18 seconds left in the third quarter.

The touchdown came after UND’s Adam Shaugabay scored on a 1-yard run to cut the Hornets’ lead to 17-7. It was UND’s only momentum of the day.

It can be argued, however, the game was over at the half as UND had managed only five first downs and 111 total yards.

“Offensively, that first half was about as dysfunctional as I can remember during my time here,” Mussman said.

Again, turnovers and penalties plagued UND.

Quarterback Joe Mollberg threw three interceptions and UND’s Kenny Golladay fumbled a punt return to give North Dakota four turnovers on the day. Sacramento State did not commit a turnover.

UND’s turnover ratio now is at a minus-15.

“We keep saying the same thing every week,” said UND sophomore Jameer Jackson. “It’s the turnover ratio.”

Sacramento St. 7 10 7 7 – 31

North Dakota 0 0 7 0 – 7

First Quarter

Sac – Safron 5 run (Aguilar kick), 8:06.

Second Quarter

Sac – FG Aguilar 41, 13:26.

Sac – Kellermann 2 run (Aguilar kick), :20.

Third Quarter

NDAK – Shaugabay 1 run (Z.Miller kick), 5:16.

Sac – Hikutini 26 pass from Safron (Aguilar kick), 1:58.

Fourth Quarter

Sac – Safron 1 run (Aguilar kick), 1:17.

A – 6,634.

Sac NDAK

First downs 20 17

Rushes-yards 49-176 25-49

Passing 202 167

Comp-Att-Int 19-24-0 18-39-3

Return Yards 111 1

Punts-Avg. 4-35.5 5-43.8

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1

Penalties-Yards 5-40 5-45

Time of Possession 37:05 22:55

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Sacramento St., Kellermann 27-119, Robinson 10-51,

Safron 9-11, Carter 1-0, Team 2-(minus 5). North Dakota, Jackson 4-29,

J.Miller 4-15, Mollberg 13-4, Shaugabay 4-1.

PASSING: Sacramento St., Safron 19-24-0-202. North Dakota,

Mollberg 18-39-3-167.

RECEIVING: Sacramento St., Norrise 9-65, Carter 5-71, Hikutini 3-51,

B.Robertson 2-15. North Dakota, Jackson 7-60, Hardin 3-41,

Golladay 3-34, Iverson 2-16, Townsend 2-10, J.Miller 1-6.

Nelson is the Sports Editor for the Grand Forks Herald