Fighting Hawks run for 480 yards in win over Sacramento State

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (UND Atheltics) -- It's no secret that Bubba Schweigert's teams like to run the football. That was on display Saturday evening at Sacramento State as his Fighting Hawks continued their recent dominance to the tune of 480 yards rushing on the way to a convincing 41-15 win. Junior James Johannesson tallied his third straight 100-yard rushing game with a whopping 213-yard performance on just 11 carries, highlighted by a 90-yard scoring scamper late to punctuate UND's third straight blowout win. His 19.4 yards per carry average set a new single-game record that had been held since Dave Osborn's performance 55 years ago (12-for-202).

North Dakota flipped the script on one trend from this season en route to the win as UND had scored just 10 third-quarter points all season and tallied 20 in that frame alone Saturday.

It also marked the third straight road win for the Fighting Hawks and followed a familiar recipe of sustained drives, a dominating run game and a defense that limits opportunities. UND ran for five touchdowns in the victory, combining for 120 points over the last three contests with 12 rushing scores in those games.

North Dakota took control of the game from the onset, taking the opening kickoff 75 yards on 14 plays for the game's first score. UND converted on a 3rd-and-8 and a 4th-and-1 in the drive, finishing with a 2-yard touchdown strike from Nate Ketteringham to Alex Cloyd. The Fighting Hawks, who have owned the ball for over 38 minutes in each of their last two contests, ate 6:33 off the first-quarter clock in that possession and held a nearly two-to-one advantage in time of possession in the opening stanza (9:50 - 5:10).

After the UND defense forced a quick three-and-out, Sacramento State had its first real opportunity when it picked off North Dakota deep in Fighting Hawks territory. UND held for a 27-yard field goal and a 7-3 lead.

The fearsome UND backfield continued its recent dominance as the Hawks ran it five of the six plays on the next drive with Brady Oliveira scampering 52 yards to paydirt and a 14-3 advantage.

The Hornets would answer, however, with Elijah Dotson ripping off a 56-yard rush to setup B.J. Perkinson's five-yard run for a 14-10 score. That's where the score would sit at the half with the homestanding Hornets still within striking distance.

But, North Dakota (5-2) was finally able to score in the third quarter, its first points in that quarter since a field goal at Washington back on Sept. 8. A 36-yard completion to Noah Wanzek prefaced Oliveira's second of a career-high three rushing scores as UND went ahead, 20-12. Sac State inched within five at 20-15 moments later but it was all North Dakota from there. Johannesson ran for 51 yards on three carries to start the ensuing drive then Oliveira found the endzone from 26 yards out.

The rout would be on when Donnell Rodgers picked off Wyatt Clapper to give the ball back to UND and its stable of rushers. Johannesson did the dirty work with five consecutive carries, the final a four-yard scoring run for a 34-15 advantage.

In the fourth, Johannesson darted right through the Hornets' defense deep in his own territory and ran away from the secondary all the way to the longest rush by a UND player since the team joined the Division I ranks. His scamper gave him North Dakota's first 200-yard rusher since John Santiago piled up 204 in a road win at Northern Colorado in 2016.

UND etched its longest road winning streak (3) since it ripped off four straight on the road in the middle of an undefeated Big Sky Conference season in 2016.

Jaxson Turner's 10 total tackles were a career high and the most by a UND player this season. He also tallied a pair of sacks and a blocked kick. Mason Bennett had three tackles for loss, part of a dozen for the team while Rodgers had nine tackles, including 2.5 for loss with two pass breakups and an interception.

North Dakota will host Weber State next Saturday at the Alerus Center.

Notes:
*The road team has won the last five meetings in this series.
*UND has now had eight 100-yard rushers this season, Oliveira and Johannesson each with three and John Santiago with two.
*Johannesson has three-straight 100-yard rushing games, the first three of his career.
*His 90-yard scoring run was the longest rush by a UND player in its FCS era.
*Cam McKinney set a new career best with 59 rushing yards.
*Oliveira's 171 yards tied a career high.
*C.J. Siegel recorded his first career sack in the fourth quarter.
*Oliveira etched his 20th career rushing touchdown and is just four yards shy of 2,500 career rushing yards.
*Both of those marks now place him in the top 10 in those categories in the UND career record book.