MSU-Northern's football season hit rock bottom on Wednesday.
The Northern Lights released a statement Wednesday announcing that head coach Aaron Christensen had resigned his position in the wake of Northern's 93-19 thrashing at the hands of Montana Tech on Saturday. The Orediggers churned out 932 yards of total offense during the blowout-win, an NAIA record.
"I would like to thank the school for the privilege and opportunity to coach the Northern football team the last three seasons," Christensen said in a statement. "It has been a great experience for me and my family and I wish nothing but the best for MSU-Northern in the years to come."
Throughout his nearly three-season tenure, Christensen's teams went 2-27. His wins were a 43-29 victory over Mayville State (N.D.) on Sept. 30 of this season and a 28-14 win over Carroll College on Sept. 17, 2016.
Christensen's resignation has compelled athletic director Chrisitan Oberquell to begin the search for a replacement.
"We'll start the search committee right away," Oberquell said on Wednesday. "We'd like to get someone with strong ties to Montana who can recruit to MSU-Northern. Someone with ties to local high schools from 6-Man to Class AA and someone that wants to be the face of the program, part of the community and part of the institution."
Oberquell said that Christensen realized handing the reins to a new coach was the best move for the team.
"(Christensen) did a lot of good things," said Oberquell. "He was easy to work with and great at recruiting. The numbers on the scoreboard just didn't go as planned. He felt it might be best to let the program move ahead and get a breath of fresh air."
Defensive coordinator Jake Eldridge will assume the role as interim head coach until the university finds a replacement.
The Northern Lights conclude their season against Carroll College, Southern Oregon, and College of Idaho.
Billingsley signs with Lions
Former Eastern Oregon football player Jace Billingsley was added to the Detroit Lion's 53-man active roster as a wide receiver on Wednesday and will suit up as the Lions take on the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday Night Football at Ford Field in Detroit.
The 5-foot-198, 189 lb. Winnemucca, Nevada, native was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Lions in 2016 before being waved and signed to the team's practice squad. He suited up for Detroit's 2016 regular season finale before moving back to the practice squad.
Billingsley was the Lion's leading receiver during the preseason with 10 catches for 106 yards.
Carroll looks for consecutive wins
The 2-5 Saints will attempt to muster back-to-back victories for the first time in nearly a year — and against the same two opponents — when Carroll takes on free-falling MSU-Northern in Havre.
The last time Carroll won back-to-back wins was when the Saints completed a 49-14 rout over MSU-Northern on Oct. 29, 2016 following a 28-14 win over Rocky Mountain College the week before.
The Saints are coming off a 16-3 win over Rocky Mountain College in which quarterback Reese Hiibel — playing in relief of injured starter Tanner Gustavsen — threw two touchdown passes.
Running back Major Ali rushed for 117 yards against the Battlin' Bears and has totaled 525 rushing yards and four touchdowns throughout the season.
Western tries for another upset
The Bulldogs (4-4) will look to topple another Top 10 opponent as they travel to No. 7 Southern Oregon in Ashland, Oregon.
Western pulled off a stunner at home on Oct. 7 against then No. 5 Montana Tech, defeating the Orediggers 42-35.
The Bulldogs are coming off a 30-21 victory over Eastern Oregon (2-5) in which quarterback Bennett Gibson threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns and running back Hunter Thompsen 132 yards and one score while also hauling in a scoring pass from Gibson.
Frontier basketball underway
The Frontier basketball season is already a week into the 2017 campaign and Carroll College is at the top of the early men's standings.
The Saints men are at 2-0 with a non-conference wins over Yellowstone Christian College and Salish Kootenai College.
Montana Tech and Providence lead the women's standings with a win apiece.
The Lewis-Clark State women and Montana Western men were favored to win the Frontier Conference in the preseason coaches' poll.
Players of the Week
Five Carroll College Saints earned Frontier Conference Player of the Week honors.
Three Carroll volleyball players were recognized for their wins over No. 14 Montana Tech and Lewis-Clark State: Holly Morehouse was named Attacker of the Week, Ayla Carpenter was tabbed Defender of the Week and Rayna Pilgeram earned Setter of the Week honors.
Carroll cross country runners Janie Reid and Layne Ryerson earned Frontier honors for their performance at the University of Providence Open.
Montana Tech running back Jed Fike was named both Frontier and NAIA Offensive Player of the Week for his 12 carry, 247-yard romp over MSU-Northern. Fike has rushed for 1092 yards and 13 touchdowns through the 2017 season.
Tech kicker Derrick Holt earned Frontier Player of the Week honors after going 9-for-9 on PAT's and knocking through a 33-yard field goal against Northern.
Sean Rogers of Southern Oregon was selected as the Frontier Defensive Player of the Week.