By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The MSU-Northern Lights mounted more scoring attacks in the first half of the Frontier Conference season opener than the Montana Tech Orediggers. The first half ended with the Lights on Techs one-yard line and down only 9-0 going into the locker room.
However, the attack lessened in the second half as Montana Tech downed the Lights 44-0 at Alumni Coliseum in Butte.
We had a chance to win it at that point in time, said head coach Walt Currie about the narrow margin at halftime. We gave them those nine points. We were playing fairly decent football at that time.
The nine first-half Oredigger points were tallied on a 27-yard field goal by Chris Casne that was set-up by a fumble by freshman Lights receiver T Artis.
A touchdown by Montana Tech defensive lineman Travis Hettick was given to the Orediggers when freshman Lights quarterback Chris Jackson dropped the rain-soaked football in his own end zone.
The Lights drive that ended the half had Jackson connecting with Havre native Andy Smith for a 31-yard pass reception that ended on the Orediggers 8-yard line.
With :07 remaining in the half and no Lights timeouts, Jackson ran a sneak but dropped the ball at the line of scrimmage. Montana Tech linebacker Kent Boos recovered the fumble as the clock ran out.
That missed touchdown shifted the momentum of the game as the Lights came out in the second half and were greeted by a penalty, a strong Oredigger kick-off return and a Montana Tech touchdown.
We just started to get in a hole and were trying to get back into the football game, Currie said. We never could dig ourselves out of it.
Jackson and backup freshman quarterback John Parrish suffered six sacks at the hands of Oredigger linemen. The Lights were in scoring position three times but could not connect for the touchdown.
Thats a sign of a team thats got a lot to work on, Currie said. We cant make mistakes against good football teams.
A bright light for Northern came in Smith who had 13 receptions for 208 yards in the contest. Jackson went 13-28 for 207 yards while No. 2 quarterback Parrish went 7-13 for 31 yards.
Junior running back Travis Hille had 13 carries and rushed for 37 yards in the effort.
What were doing is fine, Currie said. We need to get more consistent at what we do.
The Lights will play their first home game as a full member of the Frontier Conference Saturday, Sept. 4, against the Western Montana Bulldogs. The Bulldogs finished 2-7 overall last season.