Aug. 28, 2010

 

Courtesy of UMD

ELLENSBURG, WA-Chase Vogler was a junior in high school the last time the University of Minnesota Duluth lost a road football game and was just about to enter the third grade the last time the Bulldogs failed to win a season opener.

The sophomore quarterback helped make sure those two streaks remained intact Saturday afternoon as he ran 55 yards for one touchdown and hit junior wide out D.J. Winfield with an 89-yard pass for another score in sparking the No. 4 Bulldogs to a convincing 35-10 victory over No. 5 Central Washington in Ellensburg, Wash. Vogler finished the day with a career-high 252 yards of total offense for the Bulldogs, who have now reeled off a school-record 16 straight road wins stretching back to Nov. 10, 2007, in addition to going 11-0 in its last 11 season openers.

UMD spotted the Wildcats a 3-0 advantage midway through the first quarter before storming back with three second-quarter touchdowns on runs by Vogler and senior running backs Brian Hanson (from one yard out) and Isaac Odim (four yards) to go up 21-3 at the half. Vogler and Winfield, who has caught at least one pass in each of the last 29 games and had seven catches Saturday, hooked up on UMD's longest play from scrimmage in 11 years at the 11:38 mark of the third quarter to extend the lead to 28-3 before the Wildcats' Chris Smith hauled in a 39-yard pass reception for a touchdown a little over 10 minutes later. Bulldog senior right cornerback Forest Clements capped the win by returning an interception 46 yards into the end zone 51 seconds into the final quarter of play.

The Widcats, who lost for the first time in 18 regular season games (a stretch which included a 13-10 triumph at UMD one year ago), did hold the edge over the Bulldogs in first downs (20 to 16), passing yards (303 to 183), total offense (370 to 345), and possession time (30:02 to 29:58) but threw three interceptions while UMD played turnover-free ball. Central Washington also held Odim, a two-time All-American and 2009 Harlon Hill Trophy finalist to his lowest rushing total (50 yards on 20 carries) as a Bulldog. Volger ran six times for 69 yards to pace all ground gainers and also completed nine of 18 passes.

Junior outside linebacker Derrick Zappa and sophomore free safety Cameron Harper both responded to their first collegiate starting assignments by pacing the Bulldogs in tackles with seven each. Senior All-American linebacker Robbie Aurich, who had held the honor in 15 of the previous 17 games, was credited with six stops as was junior free safety Cody Eich and Clements.

UMD, which is 28-2 in its last 30 outings, won't return to the field until Sept. 11 when the two-time Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference champions pay a visit to league rival Upper Iowa University.