MISSOULA — The Montana Grizzlies biking to North Dakota for a Big Sky Appointment d at apex MT on Saturday.
406mtsports.com bent up with North Dakota exhausted biographer Tom Miller, who covers the Fighting Hawks for the Grand Forks Herald.
Q: How did North Dakota absorb its bye week? Was there an added breadth of focus on a specific aspect of their game?
A: For the aftermost two years, the North Dakota bye anniversary landed on the final anniversary of the approved season, which hasn’t been actual accessible in agreement of healing up for a amplitude run.
I anticipate UND has acclimated this anniversary for two big purposes: Accepting advantageous and added alertness for Montana. The aggregation took Thursday and Friday off aftermost anniversary to acquiesce a little added recovery.
Q: What’s the vibe you’ve gotten this year from the aggregation about arena a Big Sky Appointment agenda admitting not actuality in the league? Do the appointment amateur assume to accept as abundant accent to them as they accept the accomplished few years?
A: I absolutely don’t anticipate it affairs to anybody. The acumen you charge a appointment is for the scheduling accord aspect. That’s taken affliction of by arena the Big Sky opponents. UND can’t be in any accord acclamation or win any account honors, but that’s all fluff. In the end, the resume will be the resume.
In that aspect, the amateur accept the aforementioned importance. You’re all abrading to get to seven, eight wins. Where the absolute cachet could appear into comedy is if you charge a Big Sky ambassador to go to bat for you in board back they’re acrimonious the acreage of 24 for the FCS playoffs. How abundant that affairs is boxy to pinpoint.
Q: North Dakota has had three altered arch rushers in bristles amateur (Brady Oliveira once, John Santiago three times, James Johannesson once). How are those players agnate and different, and what can we apprehend to see this week?
A: John Santiago is the slashing speedster, while Brady Oliveira and James Johannesson are the ability backs. Santiago absent aftermost week’s d at Northern Colorado with an injury, which accustomed Johannesson’s workload to acceleration and is why he led the aggregation in hasty once.
If Santiago is healthy, he’ll acceptable advance the aggregation in carries. But you’ll see a lot of all three backs. Johannesson ability see added activity based on aftermost week’s success. He’s a bounded kid from Fargo who transferred from the Minnesota Gophers. He’s about 255 pounds and decidedly fast, so he’s a different accomplishment set.
Q: What does North Dakota accept to do to exhausted Montana?
A: Based on watching Montana adjoin Portland State, I anticipate the key will be whether UND’s canyon blitz can abide to burden the Montana quarterback. Adjoin PSU, the Griz casual d was out of accompany and Dalton Sneed looked rattled. It appeared to be acquired by aegis issues (and maybe a few advanced receiver drops).
UND has a acceptability for accepting afterwards the quarterback, with a blitz-heavy approach. UND had seven sacks in the division opener (albeit adjoin Mississippi Valley State) and bristles aftermost anniversary at Northern Colorado. UND inferior arresting end Mason Bennett has six sacks through bristles games.
Q: What is your account anticipation for this game? Why?
A: I’ll say UND 28, Montana 24. Homer pick? We’ll see. Griz admirers will apparently bethink UND for assault them bottomward the accomplished brace of times in Missoula. Each time, UND was after its starting quarterback and throwing affliction into that crazy alley environment.
Still, I anticipate those losses actuate UND. Afterwards the Fighting Hawks exhausted Northern Colorado, UND advanced receiver Noah Wanzek said the aboriginal affair Bubba Schweigert told the aggregation was that he’s ailing of accident to Montana. We’ll see if that added anniversary of assignment makes a difference.
Frank Gogola covers Griz football and basic sports for the Missoulian. Follow him on Twitter @FrankGogola or email him at [email protected]
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