NO. 2 UMD AND AUGUSTANA COLLEGE TO LOCK UP SATURDAY NIGHT AT MALOSKY STADIUM
Thursday, September 20, 2012
The University of Minnesota Duluth will put its 35-game Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference home winning streak to the test this Saturday night (Sept. 22) when the Bulldogs play host to Augustana College. Opening kickoff is set for 6:05 p.m. at James S. Malosky Stadium (4,500 capacity/artificial turf) on the UMD campus.
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THE RECORDS: UMD, the four-time reigning NSIC champions, is off to a 3-0 overall and league start this fall while Augustana College sports a 2-1 record.
HOW THEY RANK: Here is how UMD and Augustana College stacked up in this week's American Football Coaches Association Division II and the D2Football.com polls.
UMD No. 2 No. 2
AC NR NR
THE BROADCAST: The Bulldog-Viking clash will be carried on 1490 The Fan (KQDS-AM) with Jeff Papas handling the play-by-play responsibilities and UMD Athletic Hall of Famer Scott "Honey Bear" Hanna providing color commentary. The broadcast can also be heard on KQ 105.5 FM in Grand Rapids/Hibbing , KQ 106.7 FM in Ely/Virginia and at: www.fan1490.com.
In addition, My9 (KBJR DT 6.2/KRII DT 11.9) is again televising all UMD home games during the 2012 season, including the one Saturday night against Augustana. Veteran sportscaster Tom Hansen and Don Leighton of the iFan Sports Network are scheduled to serve as the on-air talent. The telecast, which is also available locally on Charter and Mediacom cable, will be videostreammed as well and can be accessed for free at: www.pennatlantic.com
THE COACH: The numbers certainly speak for themselves. Two NCAA II national championships, five NSIC titles (including the last four in a row), three perfect 11-0 regular seasons, five NCAA II playoff appearances, 93 victories and a .795 overall winning percentage. Bob Nielson has accomplished all this -- and much more -- in just over nine seasons of head coaching activity at UMD.
Last fall, Nielson directed his charges, which included 15 All-NSIC picks and a quartet of All-Americans, to an 11-3 overall record and a quarterfinal round berth (their fourth in as many years) in the NCAA II playoffs before bowing out to eventual national runnerup Wayne State University. In 2010, the Bulldogs did something no other NCAA II club had ever been able to do – finish 15-0 for a second time. Along the way, UMD brought home the school’s second NCAA II title and third consecutive NSIC crown (a program first), amassing a 10-0 league mark for the third time in as many years. For his efforts, Nielson was bestowed with two of the most prestigious national coaching honors in Division II football – the American Football Coaches Association DII Coach of the Year and the Liberty Mutual DII Coach of the Year awards – in addition to being selected for that same honor by Don Hansen’s Football Gazette and the NSIC.
Nielson returned to the UMD sidelines in 2008 following a four-season hiatus and proceeded to oversee one of the most impressive one-year turnarounds in NCAA Division II history, taking a club which had gone 4-6 in 2007 and molding it into a national champion. Along the way, his Bulldogs rolled up a 15-0 overall mark (only the third NCAA II team to ever accomplish that feat), set or equaled 50 team and individual records, captured the NSIC title and turned out a whopping nine All-Americans. He followed that up two years ago by going 11-2 in all games and advancing to the quarterfinal round of the NCAA II playoffs.
Named the 2008 NCAA II Coach of the Year by American Football Monthly magazine, D2Football.com, and the Football Gazette, Nielson now owns a dazzling 93-24 overall record at UMD (that .795 winning percentage is far and away the best mark in the program’s storied 80-year existence) and is 163-57-1 (.740) in his 19 seasons of coaching at the collegiate level.
Nielson, a three-time NSIC Coach of the Year honoree (2010, 2008 and 2002) whose first tour of duty with the Bulldogs ran from 1999-2003, was officially appointed to his old post on Jan. 3, 2008. (He continues to also serve as UMD’s athletic director, a position he’s held since 2003-04). During his five previous years with the Bulldogs, Nielson helped marshal the UMD program to new heights. In 2002, for example, his Bulldogs posted their second unbeaten, untied regular season record at that time (11-0), advanced to the NCAA II playoffs for the first time ever and captured the NSIC championship. Nielson's resume also includes directing UMD to its inaugural post-season appearance (the 2001 Mineral Water Bowl in Excelsior Springs, Mo.) and the school's second greatest one-year turnaround to date (the Bulldogs went 7-4 in 2000 after managing a 3-8 mark the previous fall).
The runnerup for the 2002 American Football Monthly magazine NCAA II Coach of the Year award, Nielson, 52, joined the UMD staff in the spring of 1999 after he had guided the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to a share of the 1998 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title (its first since 1983) and an initial berth in the NCAA III playoffs. He amassed a record of 22-11 in three years with the Blugolds, including a 10-3 mark in his farewell season when Wisconsin-Eau Claire notched a team standard for victories. Nielson, the Football Gazette’s 1998 Division III Coach of the Year, also was employed for five years as the head football coach at his alma mater, Wartburg College, where he strung together five successive non-losing seasons and attained a pair of back-to-back NCAA III playoff berths (1993 and 1994), and for two years at Ripon College (1989-90).
NIELSON BY THE NUMBERS
Record at UMD (Year) 93-24 (10th)
Overall Coaching Record (Year) 163-57-1 (20th)
Career NSIC Record 71-14
Career NCAA II Playoff Record 11-3
Career Home Record (UMD) 48-8
Career Away Record (UMD) 45-16
vs. Augustana College (Overall) 4-0
vs. Augustana College (UMD) 4-0
THE RIVALRY: Saturday's night matchup will mark the ninth meeting ever between UMD and Augustana. The Bulldogs have reeled off five straight wins at the Vikings' expense and now own a 6-2 lead in the all-time series, which began with a 47-16 UMD home victory on Oct. 23, 2004. The two clubs butted heads in each of the next six seasons, including in 2005-07 when both were members of the now-defunct North Central Conference, and last met in the 2011 season opener in Sioux Falls, S.D. The then top-ranked Bulldogs prevailed over the No. 8 Vikings, 20-12, in that non-conference showdown.
LAST WEEK: UMD got into the end zone on each of its first 10 possessions, scored the game's final 42 points, yielded just 30 total yards in the second half, and exited Sea Foam Stadium Saturday night with a 70-24 win over host Concordia University-St. Paul. The Bulldogs rolled up a program record 675 yards of offense in the win and got a career-night performance from Chase Vogler, who established personal bests for passing yards (296), pass completions (he was a sizzling 22-of-26) and total offense (396). He also threw for three touchdowns in addition to running for an even 100 yards and two more scores on 10 carries. Sophomore running back Austin Sikorski rushed 11 times for 71 yards and a pair of touchdowns while junior wide receiver Joe Reichert caught a game-high seven passes for 70 yards and one score.
Augustana College dismantled the University of Minnesota Crookston 61-0 Saturday afternoon in Sioux Falls as running back Dajon Newell headlined the offensive onslaught with 122 ground yards (on 14 carries) and two touchdowns.
THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SPEAKING: The Bulldogs' team captaincy responsibilities this fall are being shared by a quintet of seniors -- defensive end Joe Akey, free safety Cameron Harper, offensive guard Garth Heikkinen, tight end Ben Helmer, and quarterback Chase Vogler.
ANOTHER FAVORABLE NSIC FORECAST: In their annual preseason poll, the NSIC coaches again picked the four-time defending league champion Bulldogs to top the 2012 standings. This is nothing new for UMD, which has been tabbed the NSIC preseason favorite in each of its last six years of league membership (2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2003). Winona State was targeted for a third-place finish behind the Bulldogs and reigning South Division kingpin Minnesota State University-Mankato in the expanded 16-team NSIC.
IT'S BEEN AWHILE: The Bulldogs have won 35 straight NSIC home engagements going back to a 37-27 loss to Concordia University-St. Paul on Oct. 7, 2000. Even more impressive, UMD is 40-0 overall (includes NCAA II playoffs and non-conference games) against NSIC schools at James S. Malosky Stadium during that stretch.
ON THE RUN: UMD continues to pace the NSIC and is 9th among all NCAA II clubs in rushing with a 296.7 yards per game average. The Bulldogs, who as a team are averaging 6.3 yards a carry this fall, have produced a different 100-yard rusher in each of three games to date including:
Date Player Att. Yards
Aug. 30 Logan Lauters 9 104
Sept. 8 Austin Sikorski 16 113
Sept. 15 Chase Vogler 10 100
CUTTING TO THE CHASE: Senior Chase Vogler, who was chosen both the D2Football.com and NSIC Offensive Player of the Week for his spirited performance last Saturday night at Concordia-St. Paul, currently ranks third among all NCAA II quarterbacks in pass completion percentage (71.8) and is fifth in passing efficiency (180.91). The Inver Grove Heights, Minn., native comes into the weekend holding down the No. 3 spot on UMD's all-time charts for passing yardage (5,923) and total offense (8,069 yards). In 45 career appearances with the Bulldogs, Vogler has completed 63.8 percent of his throws and has also run for more yards (2,146 for a 5.3 yards per carry average) than any UMD field general. He's also 39-4 as a starter (which is school record for wins) since assuming that role three years ago as a first-year freshman.
HALFTIME ADJUSTMENTS PAYING OFF: UMD, which has yet to get on the scoreboard first this season, has outscored the opposition 79-13 in the final 30 minutes of play this season and 52-7 in the third quarter alone.
A DANDY DEBUT: The last time UMD and Augustana butted heads (Sept. 3, 2011 in Sioux Falls), Brian Lucas parlayed his second carry as a collegian into a 67-yard touchdown jaunt and went on to rush for 116 yards on 19 attempts, That made the Damascus, Md., product the first true rookie to ever eclipse the 100-yard barrier in his inaugural UMD outing.
PROTECT THAT FOOTBALL: The Bulldogs have yet to commit a turnover in 2012, although they've created only two of their own -- one fumble recovery (by junior free safety Travis Nordhus against Winona State University and one interception (by junior cornerback Kenny Chowa at Southwest Minnesota State University).
THE DRIVE FOR FIVE ROLLS ON: The 2012 Bulldogs have their collective sights on becoming the second school ever -- and first in nearly 60 years -- to lay claim to five consecutive NSIC titles. UMD, the league's first four-peat champions since 1978 (University of Minnesota-Morris) is looking to join St. Cloud State University (1951-55) in that exclusive group.
BULLDOG BITS: Redshirted freshman placekicker Andrew Brees matched a team record last Saturday night by booting 10 extra point kicks (in 10 tries) at Concordia-St. Paul ... The Bulldogs are 92-1 in the last 93 outings they've been ahead after three quarters -- a run which dates back to November 2001 ... Wide receiver Zach Zweifel, UMD's pass reception leader one year ago as a true freshman, paces the Bulldogs in that same department this fall with 13 catches for 191 yards. He accumulated six of those receptions (which equalled a personal best) in the 2012 opener at Southwest Minnesota State ... UMD's propensity to put up points this fall (the Bulldogs are, at the moment, the nation's sixth highest scoring team at 51.0 points per game, has meant limited field activity for junior Alex Brown. In six games to date he has been called on to punt a mere six times ... Senior left offensive guard Garth Heikkinen, who received All-American citations from four different groups last season -- American Football Coaches Association (first team), Associated Press (Little All-American second team), D2Football.com (first team) and Daktronics (first team), has answered the starting call in all 45 games over the past three seasons. Those 45 straight starts are just two shy of the program record set by All-American quarterback and Harlon Hill Award quarterfinalist Ted Schlafke (2005-08). Heikkinen, quarterback Chase Vogler and free safety Cameron Harper are the only three Bulldogs who have played in each of the 45 games since the beginning of the 2009 season. Harper, a third-year starter, currently ranks 14th on UMD's all-time tackles list with 224 stops ... This season marks the first time in the 80-year history of UMD football that the entire regular season schedule consists of conference games only ... With the exception of two times (Sept. 19, 2011 and Oct. 31, 2011), UMD has cracked the Top 10 in every AFCA II poll since Sept. 29, 2008. It did maintain the top spot in that ranking from Nov. 2, 2010 until after its 7-0 loss to Wayne State College (Sept. 17), when it tumbled to No. 11 ...Cornerback Darion Fletcher, who received his first collegiate start last Saturday night in St. Paul, isthe only true freshman to see playing time thus far in 2012 ... UMD is now 29-2 in its last 31 games away from Malosky Stadium with both of those losses being inflicted one year ago by Wayne State and St. Cloud State (35-7 on Oct. 29).
ON TAP: The Bulldogs will be at St. Cloud State University -- one of only two NSIC teams to defeat UMD during the past three-plus years -- on Sept. 29.
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