Tuesday, September 14, 2010

More UMD Football Honors

Another week, another honor for the UMD football team.

Actually, rumor has it the NSIC wanted to give an award to a UMD player last week, but the membership wasn't happy with the prospects of rewarding a player who didn't actually play in a game that week.

Alas, the Bulldogs are back to dominating the league's weekly honors after a 62-13 thrashing of Upper Iowa.

Senior running back Isaac Odim and junior wide receiver/return specialist D.J. Winfield have both been bestowed with Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Week honors for their spirited performances in the University of Minnesota Duluth's 62-13 victory at Upper Iowa University.

Odim, a two-time All-American from Rochester, Minn., claimed the league's Offensive Player of the Week award by rushing for 163 yards and five touchdowns (one score shy of the Bulldog single-game record) on just 15 carries with all but one of those yards coming in the first half. He scored on runs of 42, 24, 13, eight and four yards en route to surpassing the 100-yard run barrier for the 23rd time in 30 lifetime games with the Bulldogs.

Winfield, who like Odim has been chosen to the All-NSIC first team in each of the past two seasons, brought back a second-quarter kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown and concluded the day with three returns for 163 yards. The Mountain Iron, Minn., product also added another 15 yards on three punt returns while landing the NSIC's Special Teams Player of the Week citation. In addition, Winfield caught three passes for 126 yards, including an 86-yard scoring strike from sophomore quarterback Chase Vogler, and, in the process, became the fourth Bulldog to ever accumulate more than 2,000 receiving yards in a career.

• • •

For the second straight week, the University of Minnesota Duluth finds itself occupying the No. 2 spot in the American Football Coaches Association Division II poll and this Saturday night will host another club which cracked the Top 20 in Wayne State College.

The Bulldogs, who are fresh off a 62-13 thrashing of Upper Iowa University, and the No. 18 Wildcats, a 68-6 victor over the University of Minnesota Crookston last Saturday, are both off to 2-0 overall starts heading into the Sept. 18 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference showdown at James S. Malosky Stadium. UMD is a perfect 9-0 lifetime against Wayne State, but the two clubs have not squared off since the 2003 season.

Grand Valley State University remained the AFCA II poll's No. 1 choice for the second week in a row, picking up 23 of a possible 26 first-place votes with others going to UMD (one) and the University of North Alabama (two).

Grand Valley got lucky Saturday, scoring in the final seconds to beat Hillsdale. But lucky is still going to count as a win, so the Lakers maintain the top spot in the rankings. UMD's strength of schedule should get a boost from playing Wayne State, Winona State, and Minnesota State this season, so there's still a good shot UMD will end up seeded ahead of Grand Valley State come playoff time.

But we're a long way away from that.

The Wayne State game should be fun. WSC wants to prove they're a contender, and they already have an impressive road win over Nebraska-Kearney. Now they get a chance to really show they belong by taking down the big dog of the NSIC.

We invite you to Buffalo Wild Wings in Duluth Friday for our Coach's Show, which will be broadcast on The Fan 1490 at noon.

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