BUTTE — Traveling to Blue Pony Field in Havre has been a source of joy for Montana Western head coach Ryan Nourse, and Saturday was no different.
The sixth-year coach is now 9-0 against MSU-Northern, with five of those wins against the Lights coming on the road.
Western (2-0) took down MSU-Northern (1-2) in an eventful game that ended in a decisive 38-13 victory for the Bulldogs, led by Western quarterback Jon Jund, who threw for 355 yards and found the end zone five total times as the Bulldogs improved to 2-0.
Nourse was complimentary of Jund, but also recognized that there is still work to do for his QB and his team.
“He was the same as the rest of the offense,” Nourse said. “Really sloppy. He was able to make big plays but we couldn’t establish consistency. He had a good game, but I wouldn’t say it was a great game by any means.”
Jund now has nine total touchdowns in his first eight quarters of play, but his two turnovers today will be something that the redshirt sophomore will look to address before Western hits the road again this upcoming Saturday when they travel to Rocky Mountain College.
Jund’s play was a key factor, but the key difference between the Lights and Bulldogs came down to Northern’s inability to finish drives, and two excellent screen calls by Nourse.
The Lights were bringing extra rushers to pressure Jund most of the game, but twice the sixth-year head coach responded with well-timed, well-executed screens to redshirt sophomore receiver Trey Mounts.
Mounts took both for scores, from 28 and 55 yards respectively. The receiver ended his impressive day with 5 receptions, 160 yards and those two scores.
“Northern was playing with reckless abandon,” Nourse said. “Bringing seven guys, couldn’t block them all, and, in retrospect, we should’ve called the screen about 10 times… Mounts has had an incredible offseason, takes a lot of pride in his craft and he’s really starting to come around. He did what he was supposed to do: make plays, and that’s what good players do.”
In the first half, Northern started back-to-back drives in Western territory, but walked away with zero points after a fourth-down stop and a goal line fumble by Lights freshman running back Cameron Taylor.
Taylor was representative of a tough rushing day for both sides, with neither team rushing for more than 70 yards, and each averaging a 2.3 yard per carry. However, the one bright spot for the Lights’ offense was freshman quarterback Brenden Medina.
The Sebastopol, Calif. native threw for 245 yards and scored both touchdowns for Northern. Medina led several threatening drives, but his two interceptions contributed to the Lights’ inability to finish drives in the endzone.
Western had issues of their own. Jund’s two second-half turnovers were complemented by several penalties on all sides of the ball, including when the Bulldogs’ roughed the punter twice to give Northern’s offense chances to stay on the field.
“It was ridiculous,” Nourse said. “But we’ll take care of it. We’re not a very smart team right now, making a lot of unforced errors. That’s the focus this week, and we have to improve in our execution.”