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North Dakota Opens With Win Over Drake, While UC Davis Falls At Arizona State

UND's Mitch Sutton

UND's Mitch Sutton

Sept. 1, 2011

North Dakota opened the 2011 football season Thursday night with a 16-0 win over Drake, while UC Davis suffered a 48-14 setback at Arizona State.

The Fighting Sioux used a swarming defense to shut out the Bulldogs, holding them to just 244 yards of total offense. The defense was led by Dan Hendrickson with a game-high nine tackles and two quarterback hurries, while Ross Brenneman finished with two of the Sioux's four sacks on the night.

Mitch Sutton was UND's leading rusher as the junior eclipsed the 1,000-yard career rushing mark, finishing with 105 yards on 24 carries.

Arizona State scored 41 unanswered points before UC Davis got on the board on a 48-yard touchdown run by Nick Aprile in the fourth quarter, followed by a one-yard TD run by Josh Reese which was set up by a 38-yard reception by Tom Hemmingsen.

Ryan Dimino led the Aggies defensively with 11 tackles, 10 of which were solo.

The remaining Great West teams will open their 2011 seasons Saturday when South Dakota travels to Air Force, Southern Utah heads to South Dakota State and Cal Poly plays at San Diego State.

North Dakota 16, Drake 0

GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- The University of North Dakota opened the 2011 football season in fine fashion, riding a swarming defensive effort to a 16-0 victory at the Alerus Center. It was the 40th shutout in a season opener in program history as a crowd of 8,484 saw the Fighting Sioux blank the Bulldogs in the first meeting on the gridiron between the two schools.

The UND defense sacked Drake quarterback Mike Piatkowski four times, forced a pair turnovers, and held the Bulldogs to just 244 yards of total offense. Junior defensive end Ross Brenneman,with two sacks, and senior linebacker Dan Hendrickson, with a game-high nine tackles and two quarterback hurries, keyed the defensive effort.

"Our defense found ways to make key plays throughout the game and we grinded out a nice win in the opener," fourth-year head coach Chris Mussman said. "When we needed a big stop, a different guy stepped up and made the play, but give Drake credit. They came in here, battled hard for four quarters and would not quit."

On the other side of the ball, junior running back Mitch Sutton turned in a workmanlike effort with 105 bruising yards on 24 carries, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark for his career. Jake Miller added 45 yards on six carries, including UND's first touchdown of the season on a 11-yard score.

Miller's scoring jaunt made it a 10-0 lead for UND after sophomore Zeb Miller put the Sioux on the scoreboard with a 41-yard field goal in the first quarter. The Sioux placekicker equaled his career-high with three made field goals in the contest, connecting on kicks of 32 and 22 yards as well.

On Drake's ensuing drive, UND's career leader in field goal blocks struck early this season as Broc Bellmore swatted away a 39-yard attempt by the Bulldogs. For Bellmore, the block was the seventh of his career.

UND carried that momentum into the endzone as Jake Miller capped an 11-play, 67-yard drive with his fourth rushing touchdown of his young career.

The Sioux orchestrated their longest drive of the game at the end of the first half, but the DU defense forced another field goal attempt as Miller's 32-yarder with two ticks remaining made it a 13-0 advantage at the break.

Drake put together its best scoring chance right out of the locker room in the third quarter, driving 75 yards on 15 plays, but that final play resulted in the first turnover of the game as Piatowski mishandled the snap. Sophomore Damon Andrews pounced on the loose ball for his first career fumble recovery.

UND managed just three second-half points as 12 penalties ended up plaguing the Sioux throughout the contest. Miller found the endzone from nine yards out in the third quarter, but that effort was called back by a holding call.

Redshirt freshman Daryl Brown preserved the shutout with a fourth-quarter interception, which was the first of his career. Brown raced the miscue back 38 yards to set up the lone score of the second half for UND.

Arizona State 48, UC Davis 14

TEMPE, Ariz. - Cameron Marshall rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter and Aaron Pflugrad hauled in two touchdown passes from Brock Osweiler, helping Arizona State to score 41 unanswered points as the Sun Devils pulled away from UC Davis on Thursday en route to a 48-14 win before 45,671 fans at Sun Devil stadium.

The Aggies scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, using a 48-yard touchdown run from Nick Aprile to get on the board. A Tom Hemmingsen 38-yard reception set up a one-yard touchdown run by Josh Reese at the 6:26 mark. For the game UC Davis finished with 243 total yards, including 69 and 71-yard scoring drives.

ASU had 517 yards of total offense, led by Marshall's two touchdown runs, 23 rush yards and four receptions for 86 yards. In addition to Pflugrad's two touchdowns, Marcus Washington had a one-yard touchdown run and Jamal Miles had a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half. Alex Garoutte was also good on two field goals.

UC Davis was down early after ASU scoring drives at the 10-minute and 4-minute marks, followed by a third Sun Devil touchdown on the first play of the second quarter.

The UC Davis defense made some big plays, with a fumble recovery by Marques Barron and an interception by Jonathan Calhoun. The Aggies were unable to take advantage however, as UC Davis struggled to move the ball on offense early in the game.

The Aggies registered 12 first downs on the game and surrendered fives sacks and one turnover. UC Davis also suffered from three false starts and a delay of game in the first half. In the fourth quarter alone, the Aggies moved the chains for seven first downs and 161 yards, while posting the two touchdowns.

"Overall I think we can take a lot of positives away," said head coach Bob Biggs. "Yeah, we have to clean some things up but that is a good football team. ASU has a lot of athleticism and a lot of speed. I thought we competed until the very end and I'm proud of the way they competed."

The Sun Devils moved quickly on their first possession, using a three-play 55-yard drive to put the first points on the board and take a 7-0 advantage with 10:43 on the clock. UC Davis held ASU scoreless on their following possession but a dropped punt gave the Sun Devils the ball at UC Davis' 15-yard line. Marshal punched in a two-yard run to put ASU on top 14-0 at the 4:49 mark.

UC Davis had its first three and out at the end of the first quarter, followed by the Sun Devils scoring on the first play of the second quarter. Osweiler fired a 31-yard touchdown reception to Pflugrad, giving ASU a 21-0 lead.

UC Davis settled in to its defense in the second quarter, before ASU capped off the half with a 39-yard field goal from Garoutte, to take a 24-0 lead into the locker room.

The Sun Devils got right back on the scoreboard to start the second half, as ASU's Jamal Miles had a 98-yard kickoff return that resulted in a touchdown and a 31-0 lead. Another touchdown reception from Pflugrad and a 25-yard field goal for Garoutte brought the score to 41-0 at the 4:05 mark in the third quarter.

Osweiler finished with 262 passing yards and two touchdowns before exiting the game in the third quarter.

From there, UC Davis strung two consecutive scoring drives together with a ASU touchdown in between. A seven-play 69-yard drive resulted in Aprile breaking free for the Aggies' first score of the game and a nine-play 71-yard drive ended with Hemmingsen hauling in Wright's 38-yard touchdown pass, immediately followed by Reese's touchdown run.

Defensively, Ryan Dimino had a solid debut for UC Davis and led the team with 11 tackles, 10 of which were solo. Patrick Shelton had seven tackles and Calhoun added six tackles to his one interception for 15 yards. ASU's Vontaze Burfict had three sacks for 20 yards lost to lead the Sun Devils.

Junior Colton Schmidt had nine punts for the game, averaging 45.7 yards with a long of 64.

"I think we were a much better football team today than we were against Cal last year," continued Biggs. "It was a much cleaner game. We just hurt ourselves with some inopportune penalties and miscues on special teams. I thought we competed with them today, I really did. When you look at the big picture, I think we competed well today."

The game was the first time Arizona State and UC Davis have played since 1940, with the Sun Devils winning in the only previous matchup. It was also the second consecutive season the Aggies have opened against a Pac-12 opponent.

UC Davis will stay on the road next weekend, playing at Montana State on Saturday, Sept. 10 with a 12:05 p.m. (Pacific) kickoff at Bobcat Stadium.