Looking to build a resume
GRAND FORKS — University of North Dakota senior wide receiver Travis Toivonen had his math ready on the spot earlier this week to place Saturday, Oct. 5’s homecoming matchup with No. 12 UC Davis in perspective.
“We have seven (games) left,” Toivonen said. “The mark has pretty much been seven wins to get to the playoffs. That would mean we have to go 5-2, so we can’t drop many games here on out. It’s a really big one for us.”
UND (2-2) faces Davis (2-3) at 1 p.m. at the Alerus Center in a game that could go a long way in building the Fighting Hawks’ resume for the FCS playoffs.
The strength of the 2019 Hawks remains challenging to peg as the team faces a Top 25 opponent for the fourth consecutive week.
On one hand, the Hawks enter the game coming off a six-turnover, disappointing 35-20 loss at Eastern Washington, a game which left considerable questions about UND’s run defense and quarterback play.
On the other hand, UND’s only two losses are to the two teams (North Dakota State and EWU) who played in the FCS National Championship in 2018.
Despite the hand-wringing over UND’s play a week ago, a win over the Aggies would have the Hawks set right back ahead of schedule in terms of preseason expectations and a possible run to the playoffs.
“It’s always tough to lose but everyone is keeping a positive mindset,” Toivonen said. “We know we have a big opportunity ahead of us. We just have to stay with what we’re good at, trust the gameplan and go from there.”
The Aggies, who were ranked No. 4 in the FCS a week ago, enter with a disappointing result last Saturday, too. Davis lost 45-20 at home to Montana, one week after impressing many nationally in a 27-16 loss to No. 1 North Dakota State in Fargo.
UND defensive end Mason Bennett was asked if he expects the Aggies to enter the Alerus with a chip on their shoulder.
“Maybe, but so do we,” Bennett said. “We came off a tough loss, and I don’t think anyone in the country has a bigger chip than us. I hope (Davis) does have a chip; it’ll be a fun game, for sure.”
Against Davis, all eyes will be on UND’s quarterback play. Starter Nate Ketteringham returned to action against EWU for the first time since a Week 1 knee injury.
In wintry, windy conditions, the fifth-year senior captain threw three interceptions, was involved in three fumbles and was sacked five times.
UND coach Bubba Schweigert said Monday that Ketteringham was his starting quarterback against Davis. True freshman Tommy Schuster, who led UND to a win over Sam Houston State last month, is listed as Ketteringham’s backup.