NO. 2 UMD DEBUTS IN STYLE BY TURNING BACK SOUTHWEST STATE
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Winning season openers has been more or less a University of Minnesota Duluth football tradition -- especially since the turn of the century -- and the No. 2-ranked Bulldogs added to that legacy Thursday night by downing Southwest Minnesota State University 45-20 in Marshall, Minn.
Redshirted freshman running back Logan Lauters rushed nine times for a game-high 104 yards and one touchdown in helping UMD get off to a 1-0 start for the 13th consecutive season and for the 40th time in the last 46 years. Senior quarterback Chase Vogler racked up 236 passing yards and a pair of scores while connecting on 17 of 29 passes for the Bulldogs, who took a slim 18-13 lead into halftime before scoring 27 of the game's final 34 points.
The four-time defending Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference champions trailed only once all night after the Mustangs drove 69 yards on three plays for a touchdown on their first offensive series. UMD answered with 3:51 to go in the first quarter when redshirted freshman wide out Justin Fowlkes hauled in a 42-yard scoring strike from Vogler (who then put UMD up 8-7 with a two-point conversion run). Sophomore running back Austin Sikorski, in his first appearance since suffering a season-ending knee injury last October, scored the first of his two touchdowns 1:09 into the second quarter to extend the UMD lead to 15-7 and finished the evening with 57 rushing yards on 12 carries. Lauters (22-yard run), sophomore wide receiver Zach Zweifel (28-yard pass from Vogler -- one of his team-high six catches), and junior running back Steve Ierulli (5-yard run) all added second-half touchdowns and red-shirted freshman placekicker Andrew Breese nailed his first collegiate field goal try (from 23 yards out with no time remaining in the second quarter) to account for the rest of the UMD scoring.
Southwest Minnesota State did manage to amass 304 passing yards (going 28-47 with no interceptions) but was held to just 29 yards on the ground en route to suffering its seventh straight loss to UMD. Junior outside linebacker Nat Zuk, who was sidelined the final two months of the 2011 season with a knee injury, topped all Bulldogs in tackles with seven and had one of the team's six pass breakups.
UMD, which last opened a new season against a conference opponent way back in 1956, had 12 different players post offensive statistics (rushing or receiving) and another 17 figure in on at least one tackle.
The Bulldogs will next make their 2012 home debut on Sept. 8 against long-time rival Winona State University at James S. Malosky Stadium.
Return to all news.