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A Closer Look at the UNC Bears


Coach Downing has done an exceptional job piloting the Bears to the next level.  Photo courtesy of UNC.

Coach Downing has done an exceptional job piloting the Bears to the next level. Photo courtesy of UNC.

Although the Northern Colorado Bears are in the FCS, they are not to be overlooked. As Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell said, “They are doing tremendously well...they are a very balanced ball club.” The Bears, with Head Coach Scott Downing at the helm, have a prolific offense that is very efficient. The Spartans should have no trouble with the Bears, however, if they stay focused.


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  • Scott Downing is in his fifth year as Head Coach of the Northern Colorado Bears. His first few years were certainly rough, as he won as many games last year (three) as he did in his previous three seasons. However, his team is out to a 2-1 start this year and is looking good.
  • Downing has lead the transition to the FCS (1-AA) and didn’t have a full compliment of scholarships when the team made the transition.
  • Downing is no stranger to the Big Ten. He coached for Purdue under Joe Tiller for six years as an assistant head coach, running backs coach, and special teams coach.
  • Downing also served under the legendary Tom Osbourne at Nebraska, spending six years in Lincoln as a graduate assistant and head coach of the freshman team.
  • The strength of the Bears is their offense. They are the number two ranked scoring offense in the FCS (the team averages 45 points a game).
  • Quarterback Dylan Orms of the Bears has passed for 572 yards and 6 touchdowns on the year. He also has 150 yards and three touchdowns rushing this year.
  • Running backs Andre Harris and Jhamele Robinson split time for the Bears in the backfield. Harris is the more productive of the two and has 270 rushing yards and six touchdowns in three games. Robinson has only 217 yards and no touchdowns this year.
  • Overall, the Bears tend to lean towards the run. In fact, they run the ball sixty-seven percent of the time. If Northern Colorado decides to run the ball, Michigan State will be well prepared, as the Spartans are second in the Big Ten in rush defense.
  • Although the Bears are outscoring their opponents 136-71, they are average in most offensive categories. The key to Northern Colorado’s offensive success is ball control. They are ranked tenth in the FCS in time of possession.
  • On paper, it appears that the Bears have an above-average defense. After all, they are ranked nineteenth in the FCS for total defense. Also, they are in the top ten for yards per play (4.17 yards/play) and first in the FCS in turnover differential (+10). However, these stats are quite misleading. In the second game of the year versus Weber State, Northern Colorado’s defense fell apart. In a 50-47 loss, the team allowed a whopping 563 yards despite forcing six fumbles. Even when the defense is forcing turnovers, it is quite vulnerable.