Golladay emerging as next go-to receiver
GRAND FORKS — As the UND’s football season comes to an end Saturday at UC Davis, so will the career of UND All-America receiver Greg Hardin — who will leave North Dakota as one of the most decorated players in program history.
Emerging from Hardin’s shadow, however, has been the play of true sophomore receiver Kenny Golladay — who appears to be the next difference-maker for UND football.
In UND’s last two games, Golladay has caught 22 passes for 218 yards and 5 touchdowns. And, according to his coaches, the 6-foot-5 wide-out from Chicago is playing with an attitude.
Golladay knows the 2014 spotlight will be on him as UND again will return considerable depth and talent at receiver.
“I just know I have to pick it up,” said Golladay. “I have to start being a leader. We have Blair (Townsend) and Greg leaving. I have to start making my presence known.”
That shouldn’t be a problem. He’s already drawn some attention from NFL scouts, particularly because of his size, speed and athleticism.
“We knew after last year as a true freshman that Kenny had the potential to be a very good wide receiver,” said UND coach Chris Mussman. “You’re seeing the development of that. He’s very competitive when the ball is in the air. And that height; that size is hard to defend.”
UND’s passing game — featuring a handful of big, physical receivers — has become its run game, too, as UND has struggled to produce yardage on the ground — particularly in the past three weeks. UND rushed for 4 yards against Northern Colorado. In its previous two weeks against Portland State and Northern Arizona, UND rushed for a combined 91 yards.
“That’s our running game right now,” said Mussman. “We have to spread it out and distribute the ball to those guys. You saw a lot more short (passing) stuff (against Northern Colorado). And those big guys got some yards after the catch.”
UND and UC Davis both are 3-7 this season. The Aggies are 3-3 in the Big Sky, while UND is 2-5.
UC Davis has one game remaining after Saturday; UND does not and wants to end a disappointing season on a positive note.
“It’s been pretty frustrating,” Golladay said. “We had high expectations going into the season. We wanted to make the playoffs, win the Big Sky. But we can’t stop. We have to keep pushing.”