By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editoremail@example.com
The Montana State University-Northern football team couldn't escape its road woes in another state.
The Lights committed costly penalties, even costlier turnovers and surrendered big plays in a 35-8 loss to the Eastern Oregon Mountaineers.
As has been the case in all of the Lights' road games, mistakes put the game out of reach.
The game started off as a defensive struggle with neither team mustering much offense.
EOU broke into its bag of tricks to get on the scoreboard late in the first quarter. Mountaineer running back Jacoby Fox took the ball from quarterback Scott Jensen on an apparent sweep, but instead Fox turned and fired back to Jensen, who ran for 35 yard for the first touchdown of the game.
Northern blocked the subsequent point after attempt and held EOU to a 6-0 lead.
On the Lights' ensuing possession, quarterback Kyle Samson fumbled and EOU's Willie Herrera recovered. On the first play of Eastern's next possession, running back Justin Alsterlund broke loose for a 34-yard touchdown run.
The Mountaineers converted the two-point conversion, as Jensen found Christopher McSwain on the conversion pass to take a 14-0 lead.
On EOU's second possession of the second quarter, Alsterlund struck again. This time he broke away on a 68-yard touchdown scamper.
Eastern tacked on another score in the third quarter, with its shortest scoring-play of the game, an 11-yard touchdown scamper by Damien Johnson. The scoring play was set up when Northern failed to convert on fourth down and 1 on its own 37-yard line. The Mountaineers took over and needed just seven plays to put it in the end zone.
Northern finally found the end zone in putting together an extended drive that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Samson to fullback Cody Nickel. Neill Crandell ran in the two-point conversion to cut the lead to 28-8.
The Lights would get no closer, surrendering another big play. Alsterlund scored from 68 yards out.
Alsterlund finished the day with 191 yards on a mere 11 carries and helped Easter roll up 297 yards rushing. Jensen attempted just 10 passes, completing nine for 92 yards.
Northern was led by the duo of Samson and Don Saisbury. Samson rushed for 76 yards on 13 carries and completed 14 of 20 passes for 128 yards. Saisbury earned every one of his team-high 85 yards on 24 carries. He also caught four passes for 29 yards. Clint Herrera and Seth Woodhouse added three catches each.
Defensively, Northern was led by Nate Walters with 12 tackles. Marc Samson added 10 tackles, including a sack.
The Lights hurt themselves with eight penalties, including four on third-down situations.
Northern coach Mark Samson couldn't be reached as of press time.
Northern will return to action on Saturday, when it travels to Helena to face Carroll College.
MSU-Northern 0 0 0 8 - 8
Eastern Oregon 14 7 7 7 - 35
EOU - Scott Jensen 35-yard pass from Jacoby Fox (kick failed) :12
EOU - Justin Alsterlund 34-yard run (Christopher McSwain from Jensen) :00
EOU - Alsterlund 68-yard run (Cody Bloom kick) 8:57
EOU - Damien Johnson 11-yard run (Bloom kick) 3:03
MSU-N - Cody Nickel 2-yard pass from Kyle Samson (Neil Crandell run) 11:09
EOU - Alsterlund 65-yard run (Bloom kick) 4:52
First Downs 14 18
Rushing 43-168 35-297
Passing 16-25-2 10-20-0
Passing yards 138 127
Fumbles-lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties 8-60 6-60
Punts-avg. 7-42.3 5-42.2
Time of poss. 34:55 25.:05
RUSHING - MSU-N: Don Saisbury 24-85, Kyle Samson 13-76, Cody Nickel 5-7. EOU: Justin Alsterlund 11-191, Damien Johnson 7-41, Jessy Denny 6-21, Scott Jensen 3-22, Jack Hathaway 1-11, Scott Schober 4-9 Pat Birkby 1-2, Cameron Ketner 1-0.
PASSING - MSU-N: Kyle Samson 14-20-1-128, Neill Crandell 2-5-1-10. EOU: Jensen 9-10-0-92, Jacoby Fox 1-1-0-35.
RECEIVING - MSU-N: Saisbury 4-29, Clint Herrera 3-48, Seth Woodhouse 3-28, Cody Nickel 2-11, Todd Nelson 2-04, Jeff Brandon 1-12, Nick Arnold 1-6. EOU: Fox 4-60, Jason Stevens 2-9, Jensen 1-35, Alsterlund 1-10, R. Shimaburkuro 1-8, Christopher McSwain 1-5.