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Lights bring college football home

Northern hosts Rocky in first-ever game inside Lights Stadium


Last updated 4/2/2021 at 8:13am

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Lights Stadium sat idle in all of the fall of 2020 when it was expected to be filled with Northern football fans. But, while there won't be fans in the seats Saturday, there will finally be college football on Mike Tilleman Field as the Montana State University-Northern Lights host Rocky Mountain College in the first of back-to-back home games to end Northern's spring football season.

The Montana State University-Northern football team is off to a sluggish start this shortened spring season with an 0-2 record. They will only have two more chances to win a game this season, but they will get to do it at their brand new football stadium on the MSU-N campus. The Lights will get their first chance when they open the stadium with a game against Rocky Mountain College this Saturday.

"It's a big deal for our team. It's a big deal for our university, for the community of Havre," said MSU-N head coach Andrew Rolin.

The stadium was originally meant to open last fall but it was pushed back to the spring along with the Frontier Conference football season. The Lights hope that their stadium's opening will give them a much-needed boost as they return from a rough road trip.

MSU-N opened their season with a 26-12 loss at the College of Idaho. They then had their bye week and then suffered a 49-7 loss to Carroll College in Helena. Rolin believes that if his team executes their game plan this weekend, they will bounce back.

"We got to take care of the details. We got to do the little things right," Rolin said. "This game's overcomplicated sometimes and you just need to do your job and execute."

Against Rocky Mountain, Oakley Kopp will start at quarterback for the Lights. Brenden Medina started for the Lights in their opening game against Idaho but Kopp got the starting nod in their game against Carroll. Against Carroll, Kopp completed six of his 14 pass attempts for 35 yards and two interceptions. In order to have a better game in his second start, he will need to find receivers such as Tyrese Rio who leads the team with 137 receiving yards on nine catches. Kopp should also look for Jake Horner who has seven catches for 114 yards and a touchdown this year.

Kopp will also need help from the Lights' running game led by Andrez Trahan-Proctor. He is second in the Frontier Conference with 172 rushing yards on 49 attempts this season. Rolin believes that if his offense can avoid turnovers and capitalize on scoring opportunities, they can put together a strong performance.

"We've got to take care of the football, create explosive plays, and we've got to finish in the red zone," Rolin said. "If we do that, it's all going to work out the way it's supposed to."

The Battlin' Bears come into the game 0-3, making this game their regular season finale and their last chance to earn a win this season. If the Lights want to hand the Bears a winless season, they will need to slow down Rocky Mountain quarterback Drew Korf. He leads the conference with 739 passing yards and completes 60.7 percent of his passes. He has thrown for three touchdowns and just one interception this season.

"We're going to have to contain him and put pressure on him," Rolin said.

One way the Lights could slow down Korf is to shut down his receiving options but that is easier said than done as he has some of the best receivers in the conference. Donavan Sellgren leads the conference with 276 receiving yards on 17 catches and Trae Henry is right behind him with 166 yards on 13 catches.

The Bears' leading rusher is Dawson Schick with 92 yards on 27 attempts. The Bears also have running back Colton Williams who has 82 rushing yards on 19 attempts. Against Carroll, the Lights gave up 378 yards on the ground, so they will be focused on slowing down the run this week.

"We didn't stop the run against Carroll and we've got to stop the run against these guys," Rolin said. "It's always going to come down to winning the line of scrimmage."

Rolin believes his team has what it takes to defeat Rocky Mountain, but they will have to play as a team to pull out their first win of the season.

"That's the difference between a talented team and a great team, we need to continue to work to be a great team and work together," Rolin said, "have all 11 guys play together on every snap consistently and if we do that, then we matchup great to win the football game."

MSU-N and Rocky Mountain will kick off at the Lights' new football stadium on the MSU-N campus in Havre Saturday at 1 p.m. Fans will not be allowed inside the stadium, per the Frontier Conference' COVID-19 protocols. The game can be streamed at golightsgo.com.

Home at Last

MSU-Northern Lights (0-2) vs Rocky Mountain Battlin' Bears (0-3)

Saturday, 1 p.m.

Lights Stadium

Streaming: golightsgo.com

Twitter: Twitter/Havredaily


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