- Associated Press - Saturday, October 1, 2016

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - Even without its leading rusher on Saturday, North Dakota had enough offense - and a clutch defensive play - to beat No. 16 Cal Poly 31-24 in the Big Sky Conference.

Quarterback Keaton Studsrud and running back Brad Oliveira stepped in for John Santiago, who was injured on the second play of the game.

Studsrud threw for 249 yards and two touchdowns, while Oliveira ran for 127 yards and a score for the Fighting Hawks (3-2, 2-0).

Torrey Hunt intercepted a Dano Graves’ pass in the end zone on third-and-goal from the UND 2-yard line with less than two minutes remaining and the Hawks ran out the clock.

“Great team effort,” UND coach Bubba Schweigert said. “Our guys forced some takeaways and that was huge in the game.”

UND has won three straight.

Santiago, a preseason All-American, hurt an ankle and left the game after the second play of the day. That didn’t stop the Hawks from picking up 452 yards of offense.

“It was really good to see our offense get rolling and make some plays under tough circumstances,” Schweigert said. “We lose some guys early. I’m really proud of the guys gutting it out.”

Cal Poly (3-2, 1-1) had 98 total yards at halftime and finished with 421 after a big second half.

UND took advantage of a Casey Sublette 20-yard punt. Five plays after taking over near midfield, Studsrud scored on a 16-yard run with 7:58 left in the first quarter. Reid Taubenheim’s kick made it 7-0.

Taubenheim added a 25-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 31 seconds to play in the quarter.

Turnovers kept the Fighting Hawks from adding to the lead. First, UND fumbled on the 2-yard line and the Mustangs recovered the ball in the end zone. Later, a bad snap on first-and-goal led to another lost fumble.

Cal Poly made the Hawks pay. With 32 seconds left in the half, Graves threw a 13-yard TD pass to Kori Garcia, capping a 79-yard drive in less than two minutes. Graves was 5 of 5 for 58 yards passing on the drive.

Graves, who was 15-for-21 passing for 219 yards and three scores, picked up in the second half where he left off in the first, guiding a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive that gave the Mustangs a 14-10 lead. Graves tossed a 24-yard TD pass to Carson McMurtrey, the first of two TD receptions.

The Hawks responded with freshman Noah Wanzek’s 3-yard TD catch in back corner of the end zone. Wanzek’s first career TD gave UND a 17-14 lead. Wanzek had four catches for 45 yards in the drive and finished the game with 58 yards on six catches.

The Mustangs’ next possession ended with an interception and UND turned it into an Oliveira 38-yard TD run.

Sublette’s 29-yard field goal cut the deficit to 24-17 with 12:12 to play. But Studsrud’s 74-yard TD pass to Luke Stanley on third-and-13 made it a two-touchdown game again with 11:07 left. With 4:21 to play, Cal Poly capped a 98-yard drive with a 25-yard Graves-to-McMurtrey TD pass to get within 31-24.

The Mustangs threatened but missed injured leading rusher Joe Prothero, who has 560 yards and five TDs in four games.

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