UND misses game-tying field goal in the final seconds as Southern Illinois wins 31-28
UND starting kicker Adam Stage missed his second-straight game with an injury.
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Another Missouri Valley Football Conference matchup against a Top 25 team in the FCS, another one-score loss for the UND football program.
The No. 22 Fighting Hawks missed two fourth-quarter field goals including a 47-yard attempt with 4 seconds left as No. 4 Southern Illinois beat UND 31-28 on Saturday at Saluki Stadium.
UND has lost to North Dakota State, South Dakota and Southern Illinois by a combined 16 points.
"It's just another heart-breaking loss," said UND safety Jordan Canady. "We can't seem to find that extra play to win the game. We're a couple of plays short every game. We have to stay together and not point fingers."
UND played without star running back Otis Weah, who was out sick. The team also played without captain Garett Maag at wide receiver and starting nose guard Jalen Morrison.
Perhaps the most impactful injury in the end, however, was to starting kicker Adam Stage, who missed his second game in a row with an undisclosed injury.
Backup kicker Brady Stevens, who made his first two career field goals last week at South Dakota, missed two kicks in the final three minutes.
Stevens missed wide right from 36 yards with about 2:25 remaining. Then, he missed again with 4 seconds left from 47 yards. His final kick was far short of the distance.
"I was really proud of our team the way we battled," UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. "I thought we played pretty good defense the last three quarters with the exception of the blown coverage that gave the second-half touchdown. Our guys really fought. We had two chances to tie the game. He hit the first one pretty well but the last one he didn't hit great. We worked hard to give ourselves a shot."
Southern Illinois led 21-7 early before UND mounted a comeback.
"Excited for another win," SIU coach Nick Hill said. "Like I told our guys, kind of has a different feel to it, but I don't get that. It's a Homecoming win to get to 4-0 in the conference against a ranked opponent that beat us by 21 the year before, and shared the conference title, so it's a big win for us."
UND was led by redshirt freshman running back Isaiah Smith, who had 17 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown. Smith's 3-yard touchdown run with 7:30 left in the fourth quarter tied the game at 28.
But SIU's Donnavan Spencer's 48-yard run on the Salukis' ensuing drive set up Nico Gualdoni's 46-yard field goal with 5:21 to play to give the Salukis a 31-28 advantage.
The Hawks were nearly blown out early, falling behind 21-7 and only scoring a defensive touchdown to keep it that tight early in the game.
UND's first score came from Devon Krzanowski, who recovered a fumble by SIU quarterback Nic Baker in the end zone to make it 14-7 with 2:12 left in the first quarter.
But the Hawks scored twice in the final 47 seconds of the first half to tie the game at 21 entering halftime.
UND went on a 10-play, 50-yard drive, which was capped by an Adam Zavalney 8-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Schuster with 47 seconds to half to make it 21-14.
A couple of plays later, UND cornerback Caleb Nelson picked off a Baker pass near midfield. UND countered quickly with the help of a 23-yard Jake Richter one-handed grab down to the 2-yard line.
With 2 seconds left in the first half, Schuster found Brock Boltmann in the back of the end zone to tie the game.
"Definitely not the results we want to have," Krzanowski said. "We have to keep battling and in close games we need to make the play to come out with the 'W.'"