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EOU leaves the Lights in the dark

Northern puts up big numbers, but can't slow down the Mounties after dark


October 8, 2018

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Montana State University-Northern's Tommy Wilson looks to pass during Saturday night's game against Eastern Oregon at Blue Pony Stadium. Wilson had a big night for the Lights, but they still fell 58-24.

The Montana University-Northern football team started fast in search of its first Frontier Conference win of the season Saturday night against Eastern Oregon.

But in the end, the Lights couldn't finish and were out-shined by the Mountaineers 58-24 inside Blue Pony Stadium. It was the fifth straight loss for the Lights, who are now 1-5 on the season. Eastern Oregon is now 3-2.

"You have to give them credit," Northern head coach Andrew Rolin said. "Eastern Oregon has a lot of really good players. They are a good football team. But we just need to be more consistent. Our effort was great and I think with this team, we will always fight until the end. We will never quit. We have just got to be more consistent and cut out some of the mental mistakes. The Frontier Conference is good and if you make a mistake, these teams are going to take advantage of it."

After the two teams exchanged punts to open the game, a second punt by MSU-northern gave Eastern Oregon the ball at its own 45 and it took the Mounties only three plays to cash in, as Kai Quinn hit Brendan Kelly for a 33-yard touchdown with 9:17 left in the opening quarter.

Yet, the Lights were unfazed and responded by mounting an 11-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to tie the game at 7-7. The drive was kickstarted by Keagan Stroop, who caught a 29-yard pass on the opening play. Then, Stroop got 10 yards on a key third-and-four on another pass from Tommy Wilson. Facing a second-and-20, Wilson found Seth Roemmele for 21 yards and two plays later, Jett Robertson scored on a 15-yard pass to even things up with two minutes left in the first.

It wasn't the last big play of the quarter for the Lights, who got a turnover when Gary Carter intercepted Quinn, giving MSU-N the football at its own 47-yard line. On the ensuing possession, Wilson found Marvin Williams for 48 yards, which gave the Lights a first-and-goal. But a penalty stalled the drive and Northern settled for a Diego Morales field goal from 26 yards out, giving Northern a 10-7 lead with 13:51 left in the second quarter.

"We always talk about starting fast and we did that tonight," Rolin said. "It seems like we come out and play well in the first quarter and play well in the fourth quarter. But we just need to be more consistent. We need to make plays for the entire game, and we just aren't doing that right now."

Unfortunately for the Lights, they wouldn't hold the lead very long. Eastern put together its own 80-yard drive on its next possession, which was capped off with a 15-yard touchdown run by Quinn. Then, Mounties running back Victor Dias broke the game wide open when he took it to the house from 73 yards out, making the score 21-10 with 4:55 to go before half.

Before the two teams went to intermission, Eastern added another touchdown as Kelly got a 28-yard strike from Quinn to give the Mounties a 28-10 edge at the break.

"We are just missing too many assignments," Rolin said. "We are giving great effort and we are definitely getting better, but we have to get lined up, and everyone has to make sure they are doing their job because, if not, it will get taken advantage of."

The Mounties added 23 points to its total in the third quarter, as Dias scored from 11 yards out, along with Kaler Moore, who found the end zone from 10 yards out. Quinn also got in on the act, tossing his third touchdown of the game to Connor Falk, which pushed the lead to 51-10 with 3:33 left in the third.

Down 34, the Lights refused to quit and with 11:32 left in the game, Northern found the end zone a second time, as Wilson reached paydirt on a seven-yard run. Wilson would lead Northern on another touchdown drive later in the fourth, connecting with Bryce Bumgardner on a 15-yard touchdown pass.

"I was really proud of my quarterback," Rolin said. "He's a competitor and a fighter. He just keeps battling no matter what."

Wilson finished the game with 345 yards of total offense and three touchdowns. He completed 22-of-36 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns compared to one interception, while also leading MSU-N in rushing with 62 yards on 16 carries and a rushing touchdown. Bumgardner and Stroop both had solid days, catching four passes each for 71 yards. Williams also hauled in five for 69. Jett Robertson did catch four passes for 19 yards, but was limited on the ground to 12 yards on 11 carries.

Quinn led the way for Eastern Oregon, throwing for 330 yards. He also threw three touchdowns and ran for another, as well as racking up 49 yards rushing. Dias was the leading rusher between both teams, finishing with 132 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns. Kelly also had a stellar game, as the wideout hauled in four receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Jett Robertson stretches for yards during Saturday's game against Eastern Oregon at Blue Pony Stadium.

The Lights will be back in action next Saturday on the road at Rocky Mountain College. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.

Night Game

Lights are 0-5 in Frontier, 1-5 overall; Next Up: at RMC Saturday

Lights Notes: Eastern Oregon and MSU-Northern combined for nearly 1,000 yards (997) and 82 points. Both quarterbacks went over 300 total yards. Each time also turned it over just one time and also speaking of offense, the Mounties had a player go over 300 yards passing, 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving. Morgan McCray had seven tackles for the MSU-N defense, while Justin Pfeifer, Damien Nelson and BJ Hatcher all had one tackle for loss. Kai Quinn also completed passes to 10 different receivers, while Wilson completed throws to seven different wideouts.


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