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UND downs Leathernecks 38-21

Hawks account for over 500 yards of offense; improve to 4-0

Redshirt freshman quarterback Tommy Schuster threw for a career high 328 yards and three touchdowns while the rushing attack combined for 216 yards to pace No. 3 North Dakota past Western Illinois, 38-21, on Saturday afternoon from Hanson Field in Macomb.

UND, who entered Saturday’s contest as the league’s top team in time of possession, held the ball for over 41 minutes, ran 80 plays and accounted for 544 yards of total offense to move to 4-0 for the first time since 2008.

A week after going 11-for-16 on third down, the Fighting Hawks were efficient once again with an 8-for-12 afternoon against the Leathernecks (0-3, 0-3 MVFC), while also going 1-for-1 on fourth down and punting only once in the contest.

“It was new for a lot of our guys– we have 17 guys that had never been on a trip here at UND,” head coach Bubba Schweigert said of his team’s first road trip of the season in its new league. “I thought our players handled the travel well and I challenged them to focus on the performance.”

Adam Zavalney caught a pair of touchdowns in the opening half as the visiting Fighting Hawks jumped out to a 21-7 lead at the break. It may have been more if not for a couple of fumbles that gave Western Illinois some extra opportunities. The UND defense was sure to squash those breaks, however, as WIU mustered just 25 yards of total offense in the first quarter and the Leathernecks could only gather 26 yards rushing for the game.

Devon Krzanowski once again made his living in the backfield for the UND defense, collecting a pair of sacks to go alongside his six tackles. The junior also pounced on a fumble in the third quarter that resulted in a touchdown drive for the visitors. Hayden Reynolds paced the Hawks with seven total tackles while Kadon Kauppinen had a team-high five solo tackles and six total.

North Dakota now turns its attention to a big matchup with rival North Dakota State, the first conference meeting between the schools since both were in NCAA Division II in the North Central Conference in 2003. UND won that game, 28-21, in overtime in what would be the final game in the Nickel Trophy rivalry.

“It’s obviously a big game for us, we haven’t been in the same league for many years,” Schweigert said. “We’re looking forward to that. We’re trying to get our fifth win and it would be over a very good football team and a program that we have a lot of respect for.”