Photo by J. Alan Paul Photography
The football team’s season did not start how fans and the program thought. Through the adversity, the UND offense has remained as potent as ever. With the All-Big Sky cast of athletes in the backfield, most teams have concerned themselves with stopping the Fighting Hawks’ run game. Wide receivers De’mun Mercer and Noah Wanzek welcome the lack of preparation to UND’s passing game.
Mercer and Wanzek emerged together in the UND offense in 2016. This season, they’ve solidified their play-making ability with senior quarterback Keaton Studsrud.
It’s Wanzek and Mercer’s second season in the Fighting Hawks’ offense. They can both play any receiver position, which allows the offense to be flexible with who is on the field. They also believe they’re the best athletes on the field. Don’t believe them? Just ask them to run on the basketball court during open gym.
Mercer is second on the team with 36 catches for 508 yards.
Mercer on becoming a consistent threat…
“Practice the way you play. Making it a habit, every game. Ever since I moved to receiver because I didn’t start playing receiver until I got into college … I always had a thing for going down deep and catching the ball. I started practicing that skill and getting used to it and now it’s contagious.”
Wanzek had a career-high seven receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns against Missouri State in the Potato Bowl.
Wanzek on his relationship with Keaton Studsrud…
“I think he trusts me a little more. I know the playbook a little better and know how to run some routes so he trusts that I’ll be there, and I know when I’m open, the ball will be there. We’re definitely building some good chemistry.”