The Alerus Center has hosted thrilling, down-to-the-wire finishes for the University of North Dakota football team this season.
It was no different Saturday, Nov. 16, in Grand Forks.
But for a team looking for a rout -- and nearly putting one together -- the Fighting Hawks' 45-38 win over Northern Colorado left UND with mixed emotions.
On one hand, UND remained on course to win seven games this season, with only a home matchup with Southern Utah next Saturday left on the schedule.
On the other hand, if UND's resume needs to be analyzed by a playoff committee, Saturday's finish won't be a boost to the Hawks' postseason hopes.
"We're happy it's a win, but it was an ugly one," UND senior defensive end Mason Bennett said. "It's hard to get wins in November. We have one more big one, and we're focused on that now."
After scoring 31 first-half points, UND took a 45-21 lead with 9 minutes, 33 seconds left in the third quarter. UND tight end Alex Cloyd blocked his second punt of the year. Teammate Kadon Kauppinen scooped the ball and returned it 7 yards in for a score.
The Bears would score the next 17 points.
One play after Kauppinen's touchdown, UNC quarterback Jacob Knipp, who finished with 393 yards and three touchdowns, hit Jaren Mitchell on a 75-yard touchdown pass.
Mitchell finished with 10 catches for 242 yards and two touchdowns.
"He ran by us," Schweigert said. "He got behind us. One (play) we didn't tackle. But you've got to stay on top of routes, but you have to tackle guys, too. We have to get on our guys to get on that fundamentally."
Another key sequence came late in the fourth quarter when UNC was driving to cut the lead to one touchdown.
On third-and-goal from the 2, Bears running back Milo Hall was stopped near the goal line. The play was ruled short of the end zone on the field. With some chaos caused by personnel shifting, Schweigert took a timeout.
After the timeout, officials reviewed Hall's run and the play resulted in a touchdown -- a key swing as more than 30 seconds was put back on the clock and the Bears were awarded the Hall touchdown to make it 45-38 with 4:03 remaining.
"It kind of bit us there, but maybe they run it in if we don't get lined up right," Schweigert said. "It's part of the game, I guess."
From there, UND wasn't able to milk the clock despite an onside kick and Northern Colorado sitting without any timeouts.
The Hawks punted the ball back to the Bears with 1:26 remaining in the game. UNC took over at its own 7-yard line.
The Bears got as far as the 26. From there, UND defensive end Mason Bennett hit Knipp on a dropback and his long fumble backward provided just one more play.
On the next play, Jaxson Turner intercepted Knipp to seal the Hawk victory.
"That's a crappy (win)," UND quarterback Nate Ketteringham said. "You don't feel like you played the best way you could. I feel like we should have won by more, but you take it anyway you can get it."
Ketteringham finished with 297 passing yards, with just 45 of those yards coming after halftime. Noah Wanzek finished with nine catches for 125 yards and a touchdown.