Trip to Vermillion a new experience for UND football players

By Tom Miller

Forum News Service

GRAND FORKS — The University of North Dakota football program will travel this weekend to Vermillion, S.D., a familiar place for fans and veteran coaches — not so much for the current Fighting Hawks roster.

No. 10 UND plays No. 23 South Dakota at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, in the DakotaDome, a place UND hasn’t played football in since 2010.

Will there be any nostalgia when Bubba Schweigert revisits the home of the Coyotes?

“Well, maybe for me and a couple of coaches, but no one else has been in there,” Schweigert said. “It’ll be great for our fans driving down I-29. This is a big game for both programs. We have a lot of respect for their program and their coaching staff. We look forward to the challenge. It’s going to be a tough matchup for us.”

The game will feature a Top 25 matchup as South Dakota enters the poll for the first time since 2011. The Coyotes are No. 23 after starting the year 2-0 and coming off a Week 2 win at FBS Bowling Green.

South Dakota quarterback Chris Streveler was named the STATS FCS National Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.

The Minnesota Gophers transfer led USD to a 35-27 win over Bowling Green, passing for 306 yards and rushing for a game-high 119 yards and three touchdowns. He’s accounted for 10 touchdowns in two games this season.

UND’s defense is familiar with Streveler, who started against the Fighting Hawks during a wild 47-44 double-overtime UND win against South Dakota at the Alerus Center last season.

In that game, Streveler passed for 215 yards and four touchdowns and ran for 90 yards.

He also threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns.

“He ran downhill and embraced the contact,” UND inside linebacker Jake Disterhaupt said. “He was not scared by the contact. He was a big issue and constantly a threat.”

UND coach Bubba Schweigert said Streveler looks even more comfortable with the USD offense this season.

“He’s a real concern,” Schweigert said. “They have good players surrounding him, too.”

The matchup in 2016 was a turning point in the season for UND, who were facing the prospect of starting the season 0-3.

USD led 34-14 early in the second half before the Fighting Hawks eventually tied the game with a Deion Harris pick-six with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter.

“I just remember they were a hard-nosed football team we played that day,” UND running back Brady Oliveira said. “I feel like it’ll be the same type of game. It’s going to be a dog fight.”