POCATELLO, Idaho – Offense and defense; you cannot have one without the other, and the No. 8 ranked University of North Dakota (1-0) capitalized offensively with 20 points off of turnovers to defeat the Idaho State Bengals (0-1) at Holt Arena, 35-14.
Otis Weah closed the afternoon with 114 yards on 22 attempts and three touchdowns to set a new single-game career-high in touchdowns. Quarterback Tommy Schuster finished 14-for-18 (77.8%) in the pocket, throwing for 183 yards. Adam Zavalney led the Fighting Hawks receivers with two catches for 57 yards and a touchdown.
The University of North Dakota took no time to create its own momentum. After allowing one Bengal first down on the game’s opening drive, Hayden Galvin intercepted a pass on Idaho State’s half of the field, setting up a 32-yard scoring drive. It took only four plays for the Fighting Hawks to score, capping it with Weah’s first score from a yard out to put UND on top just 5.5 minutes into the contest.
The North Dakota defense created more offense for the Fighting Hawks, stopping the Bengals four straight times at the goal line to turn the ball over on downs. UND would march 72 yards in 10 plays to set up Adam Stage’s 42-yard field goal from the middle of the field.
After receiving the second half’s opening kickoff, North Dakota set up a 22-yard touchdown reception from Schuster to Adam Zavalney with a pair of Weah scampers and a 14-yard rush from Luka Skokna. The Fighting Hawks took a 17-7 lead and brought the wind back into their sails as Ray Haas recorded the first of two second-half interceptions by UND.
Haas’ interception resulted in a 15-yard touchdown run by Weah for his second score of the day.
Defensive back Evan Holm opened up the fourth quarter with an interception deep in UND’s side of the field and returned it 64-yards give the Hawks solid field possession. The combination of Schuster and Quincy Vaughn at quarterback chewed up the clock to set up another Stage field goal, this time from 26-yards out.
Weah’s final one-yard touchdown run was set up by another turnover on downs by the Fighting Hawks defense, as well as a Matt Waletzko screenplay. The eligible tackle caught the pass and scattered four yards up the sideline but fell short of the first down.
North Dakota will return to action on Friday, Sept. 10, when it hits the road again to take on Utah State. The Hawks and Aggies will kick off at 8 p.m. Central on CBS Sports Network.
North Dakota scored 20 points off turnovers, picking off three passes … Otis Weah reached 100 yards for the third time in his career; he finished with122 yards …. Weah’s three touchdowns were a new career-high … Preseason All-American Matt Waletzko caught a five-yard reception inside the red zone for the Fighting Hawks, falling just short of a first down … Quarterback Quincy Vaughn recorded an 18-yard rush on a quarterback sneak … Noah Larson led UND with 10 tackles … Jaxson Turner recorded one sack, improving his career total to 17.0, and moving him up to No. 6 all-time in the North Dakota record book.