By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The MSU-Northern Lights football team overcame North Dakota. They downed South Dakota. They dont meet Wyoming. So all thats left is Idaho.
They will have the opportunity to down another neighboring state Saturday, as the Lights prepare to take on the Ricks College Vikings at Viking Stadium in Rexburg, Idaho.
Unfortunately, it wont be easy.
Ricks College, 3-1 overall, is coming off a 54-10 pounding of Eastern Arizona on the road. However, it was handed its first loss of the season just two weeks ago by Dixie College. At home, the Vikings lost their homecoming game, 28-14.
Northern, 2-4 overall, is also coming off a win on the road. Last week, they downed South Dakota Tech 42-19, exploding for 36 unanswered second-half points at Rapid City.
Three weeks ago, Northern collected its first win of the season, with a 27-21 overtime victory over Minot State (N.D.).
Ricks, the champion of its division during the past two years, returns four starters to its offensive line in Justin Anderson, Kyle Harris, Ben Rex and Nathan Henry.
However, Anderson has been out with an injury and his start Saturday is questionable.
Ricks 290-lb. leading tackler Jerry Togiai, also a returning starter from last year, looks to have limited playing time due to an injury. On the defensive line, Travis Higham, the leading sack-man from last season, looks to play tough for the Vikings.
The linebackers and defensive backfield are all returners from last seasons championship team, with the tight end, receiver and blocking positions all deep for the Vikings.
The Ricks team last year
downed the Lights 48-0, Northerns year as a club team.
For the Lights, Rob Wynegar and Acey Kioshatka on the offensive line will look to stop the Vikings veteran pass rush.
Offensively, quarterback Chris Jackson completed 16-of-34 passes for 304 yards, including three touchdowns last week. He also had 12 carries for 28 yards in the win. So far this season, Jackson has gone 89-of-178 for 1315 yards.
Andy Smith at wide receiver had seven receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns against South Dakota Tech. Smith has notched more than 100 yards in five-of-six games this season, and is second in receiving yards in the Frontier Conference, averaging 135.3 yards per game.
T Artis also tallied 100-plus yards with five receptions for 119 yards and one touchdown. Artis averages 12.3 yards per punt return and is ranked second in the Frontier Conference for his effort.
On the ground, Travis Crawford had 11 carries for 67 yards and two touchdowns last week. Crawford is ranked seventh in all-purpose yards, averaging 103.2 yards per game.
Travis Hille had 12 carries for 55 yards and Havre native Richard Jarvis had five carries for 21 yards in the victory over the Hardrockers.
Defensively, Kino Detrick notched two pass deflections, had seven unassisted tackles, one sack and one forced fumble Saturday. Detrick leads the Frontier Conference with four forced fumbles on the season.
Bryan Kott on special teams returned a fumble for 33 yards and a score for the Lights Saturday.
Troy Martin and Joel Onsager are ranked five and six in the conference for interceptions. They have each grabbed two, good for 50 yards.
Defensive back Darren Fike is 10th in the conference with two pass deflections and eighth with 31 solo tackles and 12 assists.
Defensive back Josh Fike is third in the conference with 55 total tackles on the season.
Defensive linemen Dan Polk and Anthony Alvarado pose a quarterback threat, with three sacks between the two of them.
While the Lights connected on zero point-after attempts Saturday, Ricks Aaron Edwards is 6-for-6 in PATs and 4-for-4 in field goals, including a 47-yarder.
Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.