DILLON — The University of Montana Western bounced back from a 17-7 deficit and scored ten points in the fourth quarter to push for overtime in their Sept. 15 game against rival Montana Tech. However, the Bulldogs could not overcome the Orediggers and lost a heartbreaker in double overtime, 30-24.
It was the first time the Bulldogs played a night game since 2003, and it was also the first time since 1944 that they went into double overtime play. The last double overtime game was in the national playoffs against the University of Arkansas, at Pine Bluff, Ark.
Head coach Ryan Nourse said he has a number of things he wants his team to improve on before their game this weekend against Montana State University-Northern, but overall he thought they “played hard, and did an awesome job, especially defensively.”
Nourse wants his team to work on execution in particular.
“There was a lot of ‘coulda, woulda, shouldas’ in this game,” Nourse explained. “We had three or four different occasions where we didn’t execute to our abilities, and we missed crucial points because of it. We missed two fourth-down conversions because of our own mistakes, and that was the difference maker down the stretch. We are ranked number eight offensively in the nation, but we are only ranked number 39 in scoring. It just comes down to executing better.”
A number of standouts kept the Bulldogs in contention Saturday. Freshman running back Dylan Kramer had another big game with 99 rushing yards off of 23 attempts and one touchdown. Quarterback Jeff Logan also ran for 52 yards off of 14 attempts, while Tyrell Braun ran for 44 yards. Logan also had a good passing game, throwing for 119 yards with 20 of 34 complete and two touchdowns.
Wide receiver Keenan Hoohuli had five catches and ran for 55 yards, while Jordan Pastras had four catches and ran for 39 yards with one touchdown. Freshman Matt Lickfold added three catches and ran for 19 yards.
The Bulldogs’ defense put up a solid effort against Montana Tech. Dakota Wainwright had 15 tackles against Tech, six of which were unassisted, and one which was a forced fumble.
“Dakota played relentlessly in his first college start,” Nourse stated.
The Bulldogs’ Jesse McCloud had 11 total tackles with one interception for four yards, while Will Fields had eight total tackles.
“This was the best defensive game we have had all year, and we will continue to work to keep improving,” Nourse continued. “Kelly Houle really stepped up, and Kasey Griffith was solid as always.”
Montana Western had 195 total rushing yards in the game, while Montana Tech was held to 126. However, Montana Western could not hold off Tech’s receivers. Both Zack Kinney and Trent Thomas had big games for the Orediggers. Kinney had six catches for 96 yards while Thomas had eight catches for 79 yards, including two touchdown receptions.
Montana Western will have to bounce back fast as they travel to Havre, Mont. this upcoming Saturday, Sept. 22 to take on the Montana State University-Northern Skylights at 1 p.m.
“This game is going to be less about the opponent and more about who we are,” Nourse added. “MSU Northern has a good team, and Havre is a tough and physical team. We are going to have to be tougher and more physical than they are. Havre is a tough environment to play at. We are going to run stuff faster, execute better and play more physical.”
— Montana Western Sports Information