Game Day Notebook: Northern offense loses momentum


Last updated 10/4/2021 at 12:32pm

Colin Thompson

Northern's Devonte Armstrong scrambles for yards against Montana Tech at Tilleman Field on Saturday. MSU-N head coach Andrew Rolin started Armstrong at quarterback in the second half in hopes of jump starting the Lights offense but MSU-N wound up only scoring 13 points in the loss.

After a slow start to the season, the MSU-N offense had begun to gain traction the past few weeks. After falling behind early to University of Montana, Western, the Lights scored 28 points in the second half in their comeback attempt. Against Rocky Mountain College, the Lights again scored 28 points

Against Montana Tech however, the Lights offense stalled out. The Lights only had three productive drives all day and all of them were created by huge chunk plays. On their second drive of the day, Izayah Boss carried it 75 yards for the touchdown. In the second half, a 72-yard run from quarterback Devonte Armstromg set up a first and goal they eventually scored a touchdown on. A 40-yard pass from Armstrong to Tyrese Rios on a jump ball set them up in MT territory but they were not able to score.

Outside of those three huge plays, the Lights only had 135 yards of offense. Several of their drives throughout the day were quick three and outs. At halftime, MSU-N head coach Andrew Rolin decided to take out starting quarterback Kaymen Cureton and put in Armstrong in hopes of creating energy on offense. While Armstrong did provide some big plays, it was not enough to get a consistent offense in the second half.

Kyle Samson wins his homecoming game

On the opposite sideline, Kyle Samson led the Orediggers in his first year as head coach. Not only did he get to win on Saturday, but he got to return to the college that he called home for several years. From 2004-06, Samson played quarterback for the MSU-N football program under his father and head coach Mark Samson.

During his time with the Lights, Kyle Samson was named all-conference three times and was named the 2006 Frontier Conference Offensive Player of the Year. In his senior season, he led the Lights to a 9-2 record and upset win over Carroll College.

After he finished his playing career, Samson stuck with the MSU-N program. From 2007-14, he served as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. From 2011-13, the Lights' offense was ranked in the top 10 nationally.

This was not his first time on the opposing sideline of the Lights. In 2019, he served as the Orediggers' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. When MT came to Havre that season, the Orediggers won 42-0.

MSU-N defense continues to improve

In their first three games of the season, the MSU-N defense had allowed 42 points in all of their games. However, they still made several plays to keep their team in the game. Over the past two weeks, the MSU-N defense has allowed 27 points per game and continued to create takeaways to keep the Lights in the game.

Against MT, the Lights allowed a season-low 23 points and grabbed another interception for their eighth this season. They also allowed less than 450 yards in the second straight game. The defense is led by first-year defensive coordinator Mike Van Diest in his return to collegiate football. Before his break, he led Carroll College to six national titles as their head coach.


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