Ground game fuels N. Dakota rout of N. Colorado |

Ground game fuels N. Dakota rout of N. Colorado

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — North Dakota freshman John Santiago ran for 180 yards in the first half and the defense forced five turnovers Saturday in a 45-14 Big Sky Conference win over Northern Colorado.

 Santiago’s two touchdown runs of 49 and 81 yards give him 13 on the season, tops by a freshman in the FCS.

 UND forced four fumbles, recovering two, and intercepted Bears’ quarterback Jacob Knipp three times.

 Brian Labat intercepted Knipp’s second pass and returned it 35 yards for a TD just 50 seconds into the game.

 UND led 7-0 after one quarter but got things rolling in the second, starting with a 17-play, 98-yard drive. Keaton Studsrud’s 7-yard pass to Zach Adler capped the drive.

 Will Ratelle intercepted a Knipp pass on the Bears’ third play after the score, leading to Santiago’s first score on the first play of the drive.

 UND’s next drive was set up by a Cole Reyes fumble and led to a 19-yard Kyle Norberg run that made it 35-0 with 1:59 left in the half.

 “If you score on defense and win that turnover battle you’ve got a good chance to win,” Schweigert said. “To be able to run the clock out in the second half . You have to play disciplined football because championship teams have championship habits and that’s what we’re going to keep working on.”

 UND got a 26-yard Reid Taubenheim field goal and a 34-yard Iwarri Smith TD run set up by Deion Harris’ interception to go up 45-0 in the third quarter.

 Northern Colorado’s Anthony Davis scored on a 4-yard run with 11:12 left and Jonathan Newsom scored on a 7-yard run with 3:37 left in the fourth quarter.

 UND ran for 408 yards, including 100 on 14 carries by Smith, and 558 total yards against the worst defensive team in the Big Sky.

 Studsrud completed 13 of 16 passes for 141 yards.

 The Bears were held to 275 yards of total offense. Knipp was 13-for-22 for 114 yards and Newsom threw for 56 more.

 Trae Riek led the Bears in rushing with 54 yards on 14 carries.

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