UMW News Bureau
The Western Bulldog football team made the 60-mile trip north to Montana Tech into a victorious day. In the first home game for the Orediggers on Saturday, the Bulldogs spoiled the festivities with a nail-biting victory on a late score to come out with a 29-22 win.
The Orediggers came out of the gates rolling, stopping the Bulldog offense on a three and out and finishing their first drive with a touchdown reception by Zack Kinney of 28 yards. The Montana Tech offense was not done and added another touchdown before the first quarter ended to take a 13-0 early advantage.
The Bulldog offense then gained its stride by answering the Diggers’ first quarter 13-point outburst by overtaking them with 14 points of its own in the second quarter. The Bulldog offense stung the Diggers with two scoring runs by freshman Sam Rutherford of seven yards and four yards.
The second half began with the Orediggers scoring nine unanswered points to take a one possession lead over the Bulldogs. Quarterback Tyler Hulse answered with a scramble of five yards to bring the Montana Western squad within one point of their hosts.
During the fourth quarter, the Bulldog defense tightened up and shut the Digger offense out giving the Bulldog offense a chance to take the lead. With 61 seconds remaining, the Montana Western offense mounted a drive that would consist of 12 plays and take up 4:48 of the game clock to punch it in on Rutherford’s third scoring run of the day. With the dogs leading 27-22, Coach BJ Robertson elected to go for two. Hulse handed the football to Rutherford, who was met immediately at the line by the Digger defense. In a quick-thinking move, Rutherford lateraled the ball back to Hulse who nimbly converted the two-point play by finishing the play off in the end zone.
The ensuing Tech drive would falter and eventually end in an interception by Connor Langel.
Joe Coker, who ended the day with 8 total tackles, four of which were solo tackles, led the Bulldog defense. Casey Griffith was a solid defender in the middle of the stout Bulldog defense and contributed seven total tackles on the day. The man that made his presence felt in the Oredigger backfield was freshman defensive lineman Reno Ward who had one sack and three tackles for loss.
Rutherford had another monstrous day on the ground racking up 190 yards on 36 carries and punching it into the end zone another three times to make it the third game in a row with three rushing touchdowns. Hulse completed 16 pass attempts for 153 yards and zero interceptions. The Bulldog offense held onto the football to commit zero turnovers while racking up 442 total yards of offense.
The Bulldogs will face Montana-State Northern at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at Vigilante Field in Dillon.