Inexperienced Offense Biggest Challenge for UND Football Heading into Opener Against Southern Illinois

Have just one senior among the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers

GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Excitement is in the air in Grand Forks as North Dakota football makes its debut in the Missouri Valley Football Conference this weekend against Southern Illinois, who is ranked as high as 13 in preseason polls. One of the many intriguing story lines in this match-up.

On the sidelines, head coach Bubba Scheweigert, faces his former team, a place where he was defensive coordinator for five seasons before returning to UND seven years ago.

On the field, it’s about what the offense is capable of having loads of inexperience. Between the quarterbacks, running backs and receivers there’s just one senior.

Playing a ranked team right off the bat is a good test.

“There’s nothing like game experience so there’s a little bit of you can’t get at practice feeling. You can simulate it but when we get out there Saturday I think not just at quarterback but across the board on the offensive side, were young and know we have some talent,” offensive coordinator Danny Freund said. “Its yet to be seen if those guys in that moment really perform and especially against a team against Southern Illinois.”

We know that the opponent coming to town is nationally ranked in several polls and that’s exciting for us having an opponent of that caliber come to town,” head coach Bubba Schweigert said. “Our guys have to respond in the right way knowing its going to be a four quarter game and being ready for that physical mental and emotional challenge.”

After a battle throughout all of camp, Freund says redshirt freshman quarterback, Tommy Schuster is the starter having some game reps and standing out in two main areas.

“Tommy has been the most consistent throwing the ball and in terms of decision making. When you look at evaluating quarterbacks, decision making and overall accuracy are the two biggest things.” Freund said. “He won the battle here in camp. They’re both pushing each other. Its a young room but Tommy has some game experience from 2019 being a back up that whole season for us. It’s been a nice progression for him and I know he’s excited to go lead the boys out there on Saturday.”

Schuster played in three games last year throwing for 168 yards with a touchdown and interception. The game kicks off at noon on Saturday.

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