A few notes on UND's 27-17 loss at Montana on Saturday:
- The atmosphere at Washington-Grizzly Stadium was great. It was loud. Fans are right on top of the players and the noise, especially early, created a great environment. It was louder than what the Sioux experienced at Texas Tech, simply because the stadium doesn't take up much space and the noise has nowhere to go.
- The Sioux struggled offensively. They just couldn't come up with the big play to sustain drives. The defense gave the Sioux offense great field position in the second quarter but UND couldn't take advantage of it.
- UND proved it can play with the likes of Montana. But Sioux coach Chris Mussman made a good point after the game. The question, in two years, will be whether the Sioux can consistently remain competitive with the top teams in the Big Sky. That's UND's goal.
- Each week,Â UND's younger plays make big plays. Redshirt freshman linebacker Garrison Goodman was noticed with 4 tackles, 1 for a loss. Cornerback Chavon Mackey made seven tackles.
- Montana is not the power it's been in recent years but it still is ranked No. 13 and will make the playoffs with a win Saturday against Montana State.
- UND changed course a bit in the second half, going to primarily a run game after it became clear the Sioux would have trouble passing. Mitch Sutton and Josh Murray both had some decent runs. But the Sioux couldn't convert on third-and-long because of an ineffective passing game. The Sioux were 5 of 19 on third-down plays.
- Dominique Hawkins had 181 kickoff return yards. The Sioux kickoff return game has been strong all year.
- Before the game, three skydivers landed at the 50-yard line to the roar of the crowd. Tom Petty's 'Free fallin' was blaring on the PA system.
- Montana's Chase Reynolds isn't a flashy running back, but he has a knack of escaping tackles in space. He rushed for 173 yards and 3 TDs.
- The Sioux committed only one turnover, but it was costly. Brent Goska's toss to Josh Murray was ruled a lateral and Montana's Brandon Dodson alertly fell on the ball at the Sioux 14. Earlier in the game, a similar Montana play was ruled a forward pass. The Sioux thought they had possession in Montana territory but the ruling went the other way.
- After the game, Mussman said Southern Utah is the best FCS team the Sioux have played this season. That may have surprised some of the media covering Montana