Saraceni, Diggers exorcise demons at Nelson Stadium

HELENA — Nolan Saraceni had himself a pretty good month Saturday afternoon.

The Montana Tech junior running back ran for 273 yards and four touchdowns at Nelson Stadium. He also threw for a touchdown as the No. 12 Orediggers pounded No. 18 Carroll College 42-7 at a stadium that had become a house of horrors for the Orediggers. Stats

The win was the first for the Orediggers at Nelson Stadium since 2001. It also marked Tech’s first two-game season sweep of the Saints since 1999. That was the last time the Saints lost a season series to any Frontier Conference opponent.

Saraceni also etched his name into the Oredigger record book with a record that can’t possibly be broken. The Billings Senior product broke free for a 99-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

The Montana Tech record was 89 yards set by Buddy Walsh in 1973.

Saraceni’s 273 yards ranks second in school history behind Josh Johnson’s 300-yard effort against Rocky Mountain College in 2003. Saturday’s performance knocks Oredigger legend Don Heater to No. 3 with his 265-yard game in 1970.

The performance by Saraceni was particularly huge since Tech lost sophomore quarterback Quinn McQueary to an injury. McQueary appeared to reinjure his throwing shoulder and spent the rest of the game on the sideline in a sling.

The Orediggers took the lead for good when Saraceni ran for a 9-yard score. Tech made it 14-0 a short time later when Helena native David Meis picked off a  Mac Roche pass and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown.

Saraceni extended the lead to 28-0 with TD runs of 38 and 80 yards in the second quarter.

The Saints got on the board late in the first half when Roche hit Stephen Delaney for a 16-yard score.

The Saraceni Show, however, continued in the second half as the Orediggers put the game away.

The running back hit Andrew Loudenback, a tight end who played some quarterback for the Orediggers Saturday, for a 3-yard touchdown pass.

The record-breaking run capped the scoring on a day when the Orediggers absolutely dominated the Saints. Tech outgained Carroll 350-190. The Oredigger sacked Roche six times for a loss of 60 yards.

Tyler Saunders registered six of those sacks, while Drew Schleeman got in on two of them. Zach Hulse and Jacob Crawford were also credited with a sack.

The win lifts the Orediggers to 6-1. Tech remains tied with Southern Oregon, which beat the College of Idaho 63-21 Saturday, on top of the Frontier Conference Standings.

Carroll College fell to 3-4 with its third straight loss. That will likely drop the Saints of the Top 25 poll. Carroll has been ranked for an NAIA record-tying 187 straight polls.

Montana Western is one game behind the Raiders and Orediggers at 5-2 after Saturday’s thrilling 27-26 home win over Rocky Mountain College.

The Orediggers will be back at home next Saturday when they try to avenge their lone loss on the season to Eastern Oregon.




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