By Tiffany L. Rehbein
As far as the Lights are concerned, Montana rules the Dakotas.
The MSU-Northern Lights football team scored 36 unanswered second-half points en route to a 42-19 pounding of the South Dakota Tech Hardrockers Saturday in a non-conference contest.
Winning on the road was a big plus, said head coach Walt Currie. You always have to do that, a program has always got to learn to win on the road.
Northern opened the game with a Travis Crawford rush for a score with 11:13 remaining in the quarter. A failed two-point conversion left the Lights up 6-0.
However, South Dakota answered, as it scored on a five-yard pass from quarterback Nick Waid to John Loranger with 7:04 remaining in the quarter. The extra point lifted the Hardrockers 7-6.
Things looked rocky for the Lights when, with 1:34 remaining in the quarter, the Lights snapped a ball through the hands of the holder and into the end zone. The result was a safety that increased the Hardrockers lead to 9-6.
The Hardrockers continued to gain ground as they increased the lead 19-6 at the half on a field goal and a rush with :54 seconds remaining in the quarter.
We made a few adjustments at half, and convinced them that it should be a lot closer ball game than it was, Currie said.
After the pep talk, the Lights rallied for a pair of touchdowns fewer than 20 seconds apart in the third quarter.
With 2:21 remaining, quarterback Chris Jackson connected with receiver Andy Smith to spark the Lights and narrow the deficit 19-12. Once again, the extra point conversion failed for the Lights.
Jackson went 16-of-34 for 304 yards in the win, including three touchdowns. He also notched 12 carries for 28 yards.
Smith finished with seven receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
The turning point in the game came moments later with 2:04 remaining in the quarter, when South Dakota fumbled the Lights kick off and Bryan Kott rumbled the 33 yards for the touchdown.
The extra point again failed, and the Lights trailed 19-18 going into the fourth quarter.
Maybe it was such a long scoring drive, we forgot how to do it, Currie said about not converting on a single extra point attempt in the game. Most of them were bad snaps or bad holds, he continued. That poor kicker, he just kind of stood there on one leg. In some situations, if it warrants, whatever the score happens to be, whether were ahead or behind, we kick or go for two. Sometimes well go for two, because thats what the situation warrants.
The fourth was all Northern as it went on to score three more times to sew up the victory.
Crawford opened the quarter with 13:03 on the clock when he rushed 15 yards for the touchdown, lifting the Lights 25-19. He led the Lights with 11 carries for 67 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.
Three minutes later, Smith caught an 11-yard pass from Jackson for his second touchdown of the game. The run failed for the extra point after both touchdowns, leaving the Lights up 31-19.
The final Lights score came with 6:45 on the clock as T Artis caught a 37-yard bullet from Jackson. Artis finished with five receptions for 119 yards.
Thats how it should be, Currie said. It makes it so they cant double on one person. The throwing game should be spread out like that.
On the ground, Northern had 45 carries for 146 yards, one of its best performances of the year. Travis Hille had 12 carries for 55 yards. Ex-Blue Pony running back Richard Jarvis notched five carries for 21 yards.
Defensively, Anthony Alvarado and Chad Rearden had two sacks apiece in the contest.
Kino Detrick on the defensive line notched two pass deflections, had seven unassisted tackles and two assisted tackles, managed one sack and caused one fumble for the Lights.
Bill McGuire and Joel Onsager each tallied an interception for the Lights in the victory.
What was nice was that everybody got to play, too, Currie said. We were so far ahead that we got the younger kids into the game.
The Lights, 2-6 overall, won their first game as a full member of the Frontier Conference two weeks ago when they downed Minot State (N.D.) 27-21 in overtime play.
Northern continues its road travels as it takes on non-conference Ricks College at Rexburg, Idaho, Saturday, Oct. 9, with kickoff slated for 1 p.m.