It wasn't the homecoming the 23rd-ranked Montana State University-Northern Lights were hoping for. Saturday afternoon at Blue Pony Stadium, the 12th-ranked Eastern Oregon Mountaineers steamrolled to a 48-29 Frontier Conference win over Northern. And with the win, the Mounties (3-0) are now in sole possession of first place in the conference standings.
EOU scored tochdowns on its first six drives of the game, which led to a 42-21 lead heading into the fourth quarter. EOU senior quarterback Chris Ware threw four touchdown passes and a season-high 324 yards with no interceptions. Ware had just eight incomplete passes on the day. He also scrambled for 27 yards. The Mounties racked up over 500 yards of total offense as MSU-N's defense stuggled all day. Running back Kevin Sampson scored twice and rushed for 179 yards on 21 carries.
The Lights tried to keep pace on offense, cutting the lead to 21-14 late in the first half. Overall, Northern totaled over 400 yards with Derek Lear throwing for 289 yards and two scores to Kyle Johnston. Lear also carried the ball 13 times for 50 yards and one TD, while Johnston had 70 yards on seven catches.
The loss was MSU-N's first on the season, and now the Lights will go on the road for three straight games. The Lights (2-1) play at Rocky Mountain College next Saturday and won't play at home again until Oct. 22.
For full coverage, see Monday's Havre Daily News.