Lights head to Dillon for a rematch with the Bulldogs
Last updated 10/28/2022 at 11:42am
Another weekend, another road trip for the Montana State University-Northern football team. This Saturday afternoon, the Lights will head to Dillon to play the Montana Western Bulldogs. The Lights have yet to win a game this season, but MSU-N head coach Jerome Souers expects them to play better this go around.
"We're going to go down and compete and we're going to put together a better performance by taking the things we're practicing each week and putting them into game situations," Souers said. "We've been practicing and doing a better job of executing when we're out in the game situations, reducing mistakes and taking advantage of any errors that we can create. It's really just another opportunity to get better."
The Bulldogs have a 4-4 record this season with a 3-4 record in the Frontier Conference. The Bulldogs have had their ups and downs this season. After a loss to Carroll College to start the year, the Bulldogs won three straight contests against Eastern Oregon University, Dickinson State University and MSU-Northern.
But the Bulldogs then lost three in a row against the likes of Montana Tech, Rocky Mountain College and Southern Oregon University. The Bulldogs put an end to that losing streak last week at home with an impressive 40-35 win over the College of Idaho.
The strength for the Bulldogs has been their explosive offense led by quarterback Jon Jund. This season, Jund has completed 60.7 percent of his passes for 1,739 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions. In a 35-6 win over the Lights at Tilleman Field earlier this season, Jund went 11-for-17 for 141 yards and a touchdown.
"He's the real deal," Souers said about Jund. "He knows how to read a coverage, he knows how to throw the football and he can beat you with his feet. I think he's one of the best quarterbacks in the league."
Jund will have several options to throw to in the passing game. Blake Sentman leads the team with 36 catches for 400 yards and a score. Trey Mounts and Dylan Shipley will be threats in the red zone as they have a combined 11 touchdown catches this fall.
The Bulldogs also have many runners on the ground. Jund has moved the ball with his legs as he has 405 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns on 3.5 yards a carry this season. Reese Neville will be the primary runner for the Bulldogs as he has 594 yards and five touchdowns on 5.8 yards a rush this fall.
The Western defense has allowed 323.4 yards and 26.0 points a game this season, but they do have playmakers on that side of the ball. Linebacker Kameron Rauser has been strong in the middle as he leads the team with 54.0 total tackles.
On the defensive line, Reese Artz and Tanner Harrell have made an impact in the backfield with a combined seven sacks and 15.5 tackles for loss this season. In the secondary, Cody Whalen has been opportunistic with three interceptions this season. While the Bulldogs have had their struggles on defense, Souers expects them to be tough this weekend.
"Their defense is underrated," Souers said. "They're very physical guys."
The Lights are 0-7 this season and have had their struggles on both sides of the ball. The MSU-N offense only averages 74.1 yards and 2.6 points a game. Kaymen Cureton has gotten most of the snaps at quarterback for the Lights this season as he has completed 44 percent of his throws for 277 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
In the passing game, Devin Shelton leads the team with 98 yards on seven catches this year. TaVarus George leads the team with 10 catches for 81 yards this fall. The Lights running game has especially struggled this year. Mason Dionne leads the Lights with 106 yards on just 1.5 yards a carry.
On defense, the Lights have allowed 447.3 yards and 47.9 points a game this season. Despite this, linebacker Dylan Wampler has had a strong season with 61.0 total tackles, 4.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss.
This will be the last road trip for the Lights before playing their final two games of the season at home. With this being their last time on the road, Souers wants to see continued improvement as the Lights build their program in their first year under his coarching.
"We need to continue to work on the chemistry and the character of our football team," Souers said. "With what's left of the season and with the guys that we have healthy, we're going to put on the best effort we possibly can with the guys we have."
The MSU-N football team will kick off at 1 p.m. Saturday against Montana Western at Vigilante Field in Dillon.