DILLON — Sixteen seniors led the Montana Western Bulldogs (6-4, 5-4) to their first home victory over the Fighting Saints of Carroll College (4-5, 4-5) since 1999 Saturday at Vigilante Field.
The Bulldogs were led by an inspired effort from their seniors Saturday night, beating the Saints 35-28. Stats
Skyler Roope recovered a fumble and ran 13 yards to pay dirt to give the Bulldogs the 35-28 lead with just over four minutes left in the game. Roope finished with 7 tackles. Sam Rutherford added to his Bulldog records by rushing for 97 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a clutch 47 yard run to start the fourth quarter.
Other seniors with great games were wide receiver Beau Brekke six catches for 72 yards and score. T.J. Benson with nine tackles three of which for loss of yeards. Dakota Pineda had an interception and two tackles, Kicker Connor Greth was perfect on extra points making all five kicks. Matt Lickfold) and Chralie Switzer had strong receiving games and Mitch Pelroy had a great return game almost taking one the distance.
The Saints were gifted great field position following a bad snap on a punt that gave them the ball on the Bulldog five yard line, two plays later quarterback Tanner Gustavson would run it in for the opening score just two minutes into the game.
Gustavson would share time with J.T. Linder, finishing with 92 yards on seven completions, while running 11 times for 23 yards and three scores.
The Bulldogs would respond on a six play 75 yard drive capped off by a Rutherford 6 yard scamper, set up by a Brekke 45-yard catch from J.D. Ferris. Ferris would finish the game with 223 yards passing on 17 completions.
After forcing a saints to go three and out, the Bulldogs needed just two plays to score again, a 42 yard catch from George Shrewood and a 13 yard touchdown catch by Brekke.
Later in the quarter Hunter Thomsen would break a couple of tackles and pick up 37 of his 70 yards on a great touchdown run.
After forcing another three and out, the Bulldogs looked to be running away with the game, however the drive stalled and the Saints blocked a field goal. The ensuing drive would end in another Gustavsen touchdown run, giving the Saints life. The Saints used that momentum and took the opening drive of the second half 61 yards in nine plays, ending in yet another Gustaven touchdown run. Midway through the third quarter Linder found Shane Sipes for the score and the 28-21 lead. As the Saints looked to steal a win away from the home team.
The Bulldog offense sputtered through most of the second half until Rutherford found a hole and sprinted down the sidelines for a 47 yard score to tie the game.
After the Bulldogs couldn’t take advantage of Saints turnover with eight minutes left in the fourth, Roope forced a fumble and returned it 13 yards for the winning score.
On the Saints last drive of the game, greshman linebacker Jason Ferris came on a delayed blitz and sacked Linder on fourth down sealing the victory. Ferris had 10 tackles in the game and was a force on defense.
Overall the Bulldogs finished the game with 373 yards of offense, didn’t turn the ball over and finally beat the Saints at home.
The Bulldogs will travel to Billings to face the Battlin’ Bears of Rocky Mountain College on Saturday in the regular season finale.
— Montana Western Sports Information