Weah bulldozes UND to third straight ranked win to start season

Redshirt sophomore RB rushed for career-high 163 yards; UND moves to 3-0
Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 10:47 PM CST
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GRAND FORKS, N.D. (UND Athletics) - To say Otis Weah atoned for an early fumble would be an understatement. The redshirt sophomore running back put the ball on the turf trying to cross the goal line in the first quarter, but ran like a man possessed thereafter, chalking up a career-high 163 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns as fourth-ranked North Dakota defeated No. 20 South Dakota, 21-10, at Alerus Center Thursday evening. The win keeps UND perfect on the season, starting its Missouri Valley Football Conference era at 3-0.

North Dakota (3-0, 3-0 MVFC) scored 21 straight in the second and third quarters and a late Jordan Canady interception helped thwart a Coyote rally to make it 14 straight wins over South Dakota in Grand Forks.

Weah recorded 132 yards in the second half alone, helping the host Fighting Hawks outscore the visitors, 21-0, in the middle two quarters. Tommy Schuster made it four straight wins over ranked teams to begin his collegiate career, tossing for 219 yards on a 23-for-35 day through the air while adding 15 yards on the ground.

The redshirt freshman QB spread the ball around nicely, connecting with eight-different pass catchers, led by Bo Belquist and Luke Skokna each hauling in five. Garett Maag made his trio of catches count, racking up a game-high 75 yards to help UND account for 489 yards of offense on 76 plays.

Devon Krzanowski and Ray Haas each finished with eight tackles to lead the hosts on defense, but it was Jaxson Turner who made freshman quarterback Carson Camp’s live tough. The senior finished with five tackles, including sacks on back-to-back plays, to hold the Coyotes to just 199 yards through the air and gave the UND defense four sacks on the day.

South Dakota (1-1, 1-1 MVFC) took the early lead on a 20-yard Mason Lorber field goal four-and-a-half minutes in. UND, however, took the lead for good in the second quarter when Quincy Vaughn faked an option run to the right before throwing a 21-yard strike to fellow freshman Adam Zavalney for the duo’s first touchdowns of their respective careers and a 7-0 lead.

That’s where it would be at the break as the UND defense allowed just 56 rushing yards in the first half.

Weah marched UND right to the endzone out of halftime, taking his first carry for a career-high 45 yards and then his second 18 yards to paydirt for a 14-3 UND lead.

The UND defense forced a quick three-and-out to let Weah continue grinding the Coyotes. He obliged with a 37-yard scamper and then a five-yard scoring run for two quick touchdowns as North Dakota built a 21-3 advantage. At that point, Weah had four rushes for 105 and two touchdowns in the second half and it would be all that the Fighting Hawks would need.

South Dakota started to battle back with a 95-yard drive in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 21-10, but the UND defense held strong when Canady intercepted his second of the season along the sideline before Weah and the offense milked the remainder of the clock to preserve the victory and the first 3-0 start for Hawks since 2008.

North Dakota takes to the road next week for the first time this season, the first of three consecutive away games. It begins Mar. 13 at Western Illinois, followed by trips to North Dakota State and Youngstown State.

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NOTES: UND has now won its last six home games against ranked teams and seven of its last eight … North Dakota has 14 wins over ranked teams in its D1 era, including all three wins this season (#24 Southern Illinois, #3 South Dakota State, #20 South Dakota) … Otis Weah had his second straight two-touchdown game, the first two of his career ... UND has still not allowed a sack the entire season … This is the first 3-0 start for UND since 2008 ... North Dakota has 14 straight wins at home over South Dakota … UND racked up over 35 minutes of possession … The Hawks were not penalized for the entire game … UND has won 10 straight games in the Alerus, tied for the second-longest streak in the building’s history … The Hawks have rushed for over 200 yards in two of the first three games this season … UND is outscoring its opponent, 63-17, in the second halves of games this year … North Dakota was 11-of-16 on third down.

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