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MSU-N Notebook: A very bright Light is emerging

MSU-Northern Game Day Notebook


September 11, 2017

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

MSU-Northern freshman Marvin Williams runs with the ball during Saturday's game against Montana Tech at Blue Pony Stadium. Despite being a true freshman, Williams is the Lights' leading receiver through two games. He caught two touchdowns Saturday.

Saturday was not an easy day for the Montana State University-Northern Lights. In their home-opener, one of the best teams in the NAIA, and a legitimate contender for the national championship, the Montana Tech Orediggers, showed the Lights how far they still have to go.

But, the Lights, Saturday, and through two games, have also showed plenty, in a lot of different areas. And one of those areas is the passing game, which has been very good under junior college transfer Tommy Wilson, and, one of the deepest groups of receivers Northern has ever had.

In the loss to Tech, Northern quarterbacks completed passes to 15 different receivers, and one of them, a freshman from Puyallup, Washington, made a huge impact on Saturday's game right from the start.

Marvin Williams, who stands 5-10 and 170 pounds, was playing high school football for Emerald Ridge High a year ago, but now, through two games, he's the Lights' leading receiver. And, he introduced himself to the Northern faithful in an electrifying way, catching an 82-yard touchdown pass on just the second play of Saturday's Frontier clash with the Orediggers.

"The corner was playing off a little, and the safety had an angle, but he went for the ball, and I just went right by him," Williams said of the first of his two touchdowns on the day. And the quarterback just put the ball perfectly in my hands, and I just ran from there."

The touchdown, combined with another later in the first half, gives the true freshman three already this season. He's also caught 12 passes for 199 yards thus far, while also handling punt and kickoff return duties for the Lights.

And while his impact has been immediate, and only serves to bolster a Lights' passing game that also features the likes of veteran Sam Mix, Donovan Garner, Seth Roemmele, Beau Wilhelm, Kagen Khameneh, and many more younger Lights also stepping up to the plate, because Northern was so deep at receiver, Williams wasn't positive he'd even see the field this season, let alone quickly become one of the Lights' top scoring threats.

"I knew coming here, we were really deep, and we had a lot of good wide receivers," Williams said. "So I didn't know if I would even play. But now that I am, I'm just going to keep doing everything I can to make plays and help this team. I think we have a great team."

With Williams, and so many more in the receiver room already off to a great start, the Lights' passing game, and offense as a whole, seems to be in great shape, for a long time to come.

Top 10 Catch

Speaking of Beau Wilhelm, man does that kid have a flare for making spectacular catches.

Last spring, Wilhelm, a junior college transfer from Minnesota, was all over social media and the local news outlets in Montana for an incredible one-handed touchdown catch in Northern's spring game.

On Saturday, he did it again. On the Lights' second scoring drive of the first half, Wilhelm out-jumped star Montana Tech corner Andre Brown on a sideline throw from Wilson. But, to haul in the catch, Wilhelm had to pull the ball back in bounds with just one hand, and he did so.

It was his second spectacular grab of his Northern career, and, if somebody would send the film to ESPN, there's no way that catch wouldn't make Sportscenter's famous Top 10 plays. It was indeed that special, and is just another shining of example of how explosive MSU-N's passing game is, and will continue to be this season.

No Saraceni, No Problem

Everybody knows exactly what Montana Tech quarterback Quinn McQueary brings to the table. He's got a rocket arm and is extremely accurate in the passing game, yet when he takes off and runs, he has the speed of a wide receiver, but the power of a running back or safety. And after all, he played almost all of the positions at one time or another in his career at NCAA FCS Montana State.

But, heading into the 2017 season, no one was quite sure how Montana Tech's running game would fare without all-time leading rusher and two-time Frontier Conference Player of the Year and All-American Nolan Saraceni.

But after Saturday, and two games into the season, the question has been answered.

Dickinson State transfer Jed Fike rushed for 215 yards on Saturday, and already has 322 yards in two games this season. Yes, Northern fans may know the Fike name, as he is the nephew former Skylight greats, Kari and Kim Fike.

And Fike, who actually ran against Montana Tech for the Blue Hawks in the NAIA playoffs last season, isn't alone in the backfield. Sophomore Braden Feisthamel is listed as the starter for the Orediggers, and freshman Braxton Porter came in and put up another 83 yards on the Lights Saturday.

So, while Saraceni will never be forgotten by Tech fans, they need not worry anymore. The Tech rushing game is on great legs, for years to come.


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