2018 NSIC Football Grades: Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs

Playoff Appearance

The Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs perfect season came to an end in the Division II football playoffs against the Texas A&M-Commerce Lions.  Unfazed by the drifts of snow and the frigid temperatures, the Lions won 33-17.  The Bulldogs’ defense battled in the first half, scoring two touchdowns off interceptions.  At halftime the Lions led 17-14.  In the second half the Lions surged ahead and held the Bulldogs’ offense to a single field goal.

Regular Season

The Bulldogs enjoyed a perfect run through NSIC competition.  The only challenger to remain within a touchdown at the end of competition was Bemidji State.  The Beavers forced double overtime before relenting to the Minnesota Duluth victory.

In regular season play UMD totally dominated.  The 2018 Minnesota Duluth offense scored 490 points while the defense held opponents to a paltry 149 points scored.

Returning Hope

Sure, the Bulldogs didn’t have the playoff win they hoped for – but they had a great 2018 campaign.  They earned a home playoff game and have plenty of talent returning next year.  The offense will bring back it’s top rusher, Wade Sullivan, who’s only going to be a red-shirt sophomore.  The second leading rusher also returns, which happens to be the athletic quarterback Mike Rybarczyk.

wadesullivan26.jpg
Wade Sullivan runs for the UMD Bulldogs in D2 playoff game against Texas A&M Commerce.

Final Grade A-

An undefeated regular season and playoff appearance make for a great year.  The only problem is that another NSIC team ran the regular season gauntlet to perfection…Minnesota State.  The two perennial NSIC powers could have met in the playoffs, but the Bulldog loss wiped out the chance for a face-to-face battle.  The Mavericks won their first playoff game and claim bragging rights as the best NSIC team.  Returning Bulldogs will have plenty of motivation for spring ball and summer workouts.

 

 

 

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