GRAND FORKS, N.D. — Give North Dakota quarterback Ryan Bartels a win and linebacker Dayo Idowu a save in UND’s 24-16 Big Sky Conference win over Portland State on Saturday.
Bartels lit a fire under the stagnant UND offense, leading it to two second-half scores. He was 14 for 23 for 151 yards and a touchdown.
Idowu deflected and intercepted a pass, then made the final stop of the game, wrapping up Nate Tago two yards short of the end zone as time ran out. It was his eighth tackle of the game.
Leading 17-16, UND got an insurance touchdown when Alex Tillman returned a punt 95 yards for a touchdown with 8:47 to play.
The Vikings’ last drive lasted eight plays, all inside the UND 20. They had a touchdown called back by penalty and another TD pass stripped from the receiver by Baylee Carr.
On third down with seconds left and no timeouts, Portland State tried a running play but Tago had no chance.
Portland State (2-4, 1-1 Big Sky) took a 13-3 lead into halftime. Skyview High grad Kieran McDonagh threw a 50-yard TD pass top Stevie Coury with 10:50 left in the quarter and Jonathan Gonzales had two of his three field goals, including a 45-yarder as time ran out.
UND (3-4, 1-2) countered with Reid Taubenheim’s 35-yarder.
With Mollberg out with a concussion and receiver RJ McGill out with an injury, UND had to rely on reserves.
“We really needed a positive result,” UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. “Our guys fought hard. We lost a lot of guys. I’m proud of them. So many guys contributed. What a gutsy effort.”
Defensive back-turned-receiver Josh Seibel was one of those. The redshirt freshman made his first contributions, catching nine passes for 60 yards.
“I had to step up with people going down and we definitely did that,” Seibel said.
Zach Adler had seven catches for 66 yards, including a touchdown. Between Mollberg, who suffered a possible concussion, and Bartels, UND threw for 212 yards.
Jer Garman ran 17 times for 49 yards.
Bartels scored on a 1-yard run to pull UND within 13-10 with 8:28 left in the third quarter. After Idowu’s interception set UND up at the Portland State 48, Bartels led an eight-play drive, capped by Adler’s 8-yard TD pass on third down with 3:26 left in the third. That gave UND the lead for good.
“Going in at first I was a little nervous, but once I settled down, we played a pretty good half,” Bartels said.
McDonagh was 13 for 36 for 224 yards. Coury had two catches for 89 yards.
The 24 points were the most scored by UND this season.