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UND hopes to send out seniors with a win against Eastern Washington

GRAND FORKS—University of North Dakota quarterback Keaton Studsrud's career will come full circle Saturday, Nov. 11.

The senior began his college football career Nov. 1, 2014, at Eastern Washington, when, with four games left in the season, UND pulled the redshirt on his true freshman season in Cheney, Wash.

At 1 p.m. in the Alerus Center, Studsrud's career will come to a close against the same program it started.

"I think the emotions will be pretty high," Studsrud said. "I've been through a lot in my four years here ... the highs and the lows. It coming to an end is a surreal feeling."

Studsrud will be one of 22 current and former players that will be recognized with the 2017 senior class against No. 19 Eastern Washington.

The senior class is a unique mix of fifth-year seniors recruited under former coach Chris Mussman and four-year seniors brought in to play right away for Bubba Schweigert.

"I really respect what these guys did for our program," Schweigert said. "They believed in the vision and bought into what we believe we can do at the University of North Dakota."

Studsrud, who has won over teammates over the years with his toughness, set a tone early in his college career by seeking out the coaching staff to volunteer to play as a true freshman on the red turf of Roos Field after injuries to quarterbacks Joe Mollberg and Ryan Bartels the previous week.

"I can't say enough about what Keaton Studsrud did for us and the sacrifice he has made for our program," Schweigert said. "He didn't hesitate and actually came to us and said this is what the program needs."

In his career, Studsrud made 34 career starts, threw for 5,191 yards, 36 touchdowns and 633 rushing yards entering the final game.

He led UND to the program's first FBS win in 2015 against Wyoming, then the school's first Big Sky Conference championship and FCS tournament appearance in 2016.

"It really feels like it was yesterday," Studsrud said of the first game of his UND career. I remember stepping onto the red turf when I was a freshman. Hopefully, we get a better result this time."

UND lost 54-3 to Eastern Washington that year.

The Fighting Hawks, who have won six straight Senior Day games, expect a tough challenge with EWU, which won't have the services of All-American quarterback Gage Gubrud and starting linebacker Kurt Calhoun. The two were arrested last Saturday and are suspended.

EWU (5-4 overall, 4-2 Big Sky Conference) needs to beat UND and Portland State next weekend to have a shot at the FCS playoffs. The Fighting Hawks (3-7, 2-5) are hoping to send out the seniors with a victory.

"Do I wish our record was different for our seniors' final year? Of course, we all do," Schweigert said. "But we're going to remember the special things they did for our program."

No. 19 EWU at UND

• When: 1 p.m., today, Alerus Center

• TV/Radio: MidcoSN, The Fox (96.1 FM).

• Records: UND 2-5 Big Sky, 3-7 overall; EWU: 4-2, 5-4.

• Of note: Eastern Washington holds a 3-0 edge over UND in the all-time series and the Eagles have outscored the Fighting Hawks 134-34.

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 13 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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