By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Add Thursday night football to the MSU-Northern Lights football program and the sum is 131-0.
The Rocky Mountain College Bears defeated the Lights 62-0 Thursday at Blue Pony Stadium.
Although Rocky entered the contest last in the Frontier Conference in rushing yards, senior running back Jerod Tocco tallied 106 yards rushing while his replacement, freshman Grady Simpson, tallied 123 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Bears attack.
Rocky, 1-1 in the Frontier Conference and 2-2 overall, amassed 559 total yards compared to only 200 for Northern who is 0-4 in the conference and 1-4 overall.
Northern managed only 79 total offensive yards in the second half including one first down.
The Lights, down 21-0 going into the half, controlled the ball for 18 first-half minutes compared to Rockys 12 minutes.
Defensively, the Lights opened strong when, on Rockys first possession, senior quarterback David Short fumbled the snap and freshman linebacker Colter Epler recovered it for the Lights.
However, with the Lights unable to capitalize, Rocky, who had one touchdown called back due to a motion penalty, scored on its next possession when Short connected with Forest Hurlbert on an 11-yard touchdown pass. With the point after attempt good, the Bears led 7-0.
Short was 18-of-23 for 300 yards and four touchdowns in the contest.
With more than two minutes remaining in the first quarter, junior safety Seth Swingley threw Short down for a sack and a 10 yard Bears loss.
With the Lights threatening to score, the first quarter expired with the Bears up 7-0.
The Lights held Rocky on its first two possessions of the second quarter to two three-and-out situations before the Bears scored back-to-back touchdowns.
With more than two minutes remaining in the second, Short connected with his twin brother, Dennis, who ran in a 66-yard pass reception for a touchdown.
With 54 seconds remaining in the half, the Bears generated three first downs on its fourth possession of the quarter as the Short boys hooked up again for the score. They entered the locker room up 21-0.
At the half, Northern had rushed for 75 yards versus only 27 for the Bears. However, Rocky had tallied 237 total yards that included 210 passing. Northern had 46 passing yards for 121 total yards.
Unfortunately for the Lights, who overcame a 21-6 halftime deficit last week to win against Minot State, the second half was a debacle.
The Lights offense was defined in the second half by the one first down they managed and the 79 total yards.
The Bears, on the other hand, came out of the locker room pumped, as junior Forest Hurlbert ran the Lights kick off back for a score. In the third quarter, Rocky scored a touchdown on every possession of the quarter to lead 55-0 going into the fourth.
The one Lights first down came in the third quarter but was dimmed two possessions later when quarterback Chris Jackson threw an interception. Freshman John Parrish of Eureka saw some playing time for the Lights in hopes of sparking an offensive threat, but he proved too little.
Jackson went 15-of-29 for 58 yards and one interception.
His favorite receiver Andy Smith had six receptions for 35 yards.
The Lights running game, the strongest so far this season, was led by Travis Hille who had 11 carries for 55 yards.
The game, televised across Montana thanks to Montana Power Companys Thursday Night Football, was the second Lights broadcast.
On Sept. 9, at Helena, Carroll College pounded the Lights 69-0 in the Frontier Conference matchup.
Northern travels to Rapid City, S.D., Saturday, Oct. 2, to take on non-conference South Dakota Tech with kick off slated for 1 p.m.