BUTTE- No. 13 Montana Tech ran over No. 25 Rocky Mountain College 48-12 on Saturday at Bob Green Field.
The Diggers from Butte proved too much for Rocky early on in the contest between the two nationally ranked teams tallying all 24 points in the first quarter.
On the first possession the Battlin' Bears had good field position until linebacker Zach Hulseforced Rocky quarterback Chase White to fumble the ball into the hands of safety Rial Gunlikson. Taking over at the 50 yard line, the Diggers took the ball into the redzone but had to settle for a Derrick Holt 31 yard field goal to give themselves a 3-0 advantage.
The defense would force another 3-and-out when Levi Dawes sacked White and forced the second Rocky fumble, but the Battlin' Bears recovered the ball. Dawes would finish the day with six tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks.
Tech utilized the short field for the second consecutive possession when Zach Bunney took a handoff down the sideline for a 14-yard touchdown with six minutes left in the opening quarter.
Another short possession by the Battlin' Bears gave the Diggers the ball with 4:42 left in the first. On the first play of the drive Quinn McQueary hit Dion Williams in stride going down the sideline for a 57 yard touchdown. Holt's extra point gave the Diggers a 17-0 lead in the quarter.
But the Diggers weren't done.
After exchanging punts, including a booming 71 yarder by Slaten Long, Head Coach Chuck Morrell maximized his timeouts to give his team one more offensive possession with the wind at their back.
"Sometimes you make those choices and you end up looking like a genius and other times it can backfire, today was just one of those days where it worked out." said Morrell.
And workout it did. Punting into the wind Rocky booted the ball high into the air but Montana Tech return man Levi Lynde caught the ball and sprinted 47 yards down to the three yard line with six second left on the clock.
On the ensuing play, Oredigger running back Nolan Saraceni walked untouched into the endzone giving the Diggers a 24-0 lead after one.
Starting the second quarter, the Digger defense stopped Rocky once again. The Diggers allowed the Battlin' Bears just 32 yards of total offense in the first half.
Taking over on their own 15 yard line, the Diggers completed passes to Sean Sullivan, Dion Williams, and Mitchell Keeton to set up 1st and 10 from the Rocky 40. Then
McQueary threw a dart just past the reach of the Rocky DB that Chris Kelly caught in stride for the touchdown. The Holt PAT extended the Montana Tech lead out to 31-0 with 11:46 left in the half.
McQueary finished the game going 18-for-27 passing and completed passes to nine different receivers on his way to 237 yards through the air.
A Griff Amies 49 yard field goal as time expired would send the Diggers into the halftime up 31-3.
In the third quarter, Nolan Saraceni hit his stride and raced past every Rocky defender for a 66-yard touchdown to bump the Digger lead to 38-3. Saraceni finished the game with 120 yards rushing on just seven carries and two touchdowns.
Amies added another 39 yard field goal cut into the Montana Tech lead, 31-6, midway through the third.
Rocky scored to start the 4th quarter on a Chase White pass to Brandon Mosely to put the Battlin' Bears down 38-9 with 14:17 left in the game.
The Diggers responded with a touchdown drive of their own going nine plays for 55 yards on the ensuing possession. McQueary threw his third touchdown pass of the day to Sean Sullivan who caught the ball near the goal line and stretched it across the plane for the score.
Sullivan finished the day with a team-high four catches for 44 yards and a score. Dion Williams tallied 60 yards receiving and a touchdown and Mitchell Keaton caught four passes for 60 yards.
Montana Tech added another Holt field goal late in the game to set up the 48-12 final.
The Diggers piled up 434 yards of offense and limited Rocky to just 204 yards on the day. Montana Tech averaged 7 yards per play on offense.
Defensively, Nic Amestoy led Montana Tech with nine tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss. Gunnar Kayser and Connor Wines each tallied seven tackles, while Drew Schleeman registered six tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, and one sack. Schleeman also batted down a Rocky pass attempt in the winning effort.
The Diggers improve to 2-1 in conference play while Rocky drops to 2-1.
Montana Tech hits the road next week and travels to La Grande, Oregon to take on No. 10 Eastern Oregon University. That game will kick off at 2PM Montana time.
Courtesy: Montana Tech Sports Information