BUTTE — Montana Tech quarterback Quinn McQueary was quick to emphasize that the NAIA Offensive Player of the Week honor he received this week was a collaborative — not individual — award.
“It means a lot because it speaks a lot about my teammates, to be honest," said McQueary, who piled up 394 passing yards and four passing touchdowns against MSU-Northern last Saturday to send the Orediggers to a 70-27 win and a 2-0 start to the season.
"I can’t do it all by myself," continued McQueary. "The offensive line had a great day, receivers were making plays, and the running backs did what they had to do."
The 70 points scored and 795 total yards of offense were both Montana Tech records and the blowout win helped the Orediggers secure a No. 5 ranking in the first edition of the NAIA Football Coaches' Top 25 Poll after being ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll.
With an unblemished record in hand and aspirations of a third-straight Frontier Conference Championship driving them, the 'Diggers now head for Billings on Saturday where they will take on Rocky Mountain College at Herb Klindt Field.
The Battlin' Bears (2-1, 2-0) are coming off a 40-14 road win at Carroll College, the first victory for Rocky Mountain College at Nelson Stadium in 17 years.
For his four field goals (34, 38, 33 and 32 yards) and 4-for-4 extra point attempts, Battlin' Bears senior kicker Griff Amies was tabbed the NAIA Special Teams Player of the Week.
Though McQueary is quick to deflect praise and instead heap it on his teammates, Tech coach Chuck Morrell has no doubt the senior is in clear command of the Orediggers' surging offense.
"First and foremost is (McQueary) has got incredible leadership of our squad right now," said Morrell during Wednesday practice at Alumni Coliseum. "I think when he works as hard as he does and prepares as hard as he does he elevates the play of everyone around him."
Through two games, McQueary has thrown for 732 yards and seven touchdowns and connected with 12 different receivers. He also caught a 22-yard pass from wide receiver Dion Williams — who leads Tech in receptions with 13 — in the win over Northern.
"A little rope-a-dope," said Morrell with a chuckle while remembering the unusual play. "Obviously Dion is our top receiver right now and he’s making a ton of plays. It was just an opportunity to let our guys have some fun."
For Williams, who tossed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell Keaton in an October 2016 game against Northern, the role-reversal was simply an opportunity to "return the favor."
"We just had a normal run play and I looked and saw Quinn wide open," said Williams, who has been the recipient of three scoring throws from McQueary this season. "I thought, 'Why not?'"
MSU-Northern, Carroll looking for first wins
The Northern Lights will enter Saturday's game against the Saints searching for their first win in nearly a year.
MSU-Northern's last victory was a 28-14 home win over Carroll College on Sept. 17, 2016.
In their first two games, the Lights were topped by Rocky Mountain College 32-25 and railroaded by Tech 70-27.
Despite the losses, Northern junior quarterback Tommy Wilson has posted respectable numbers — 658 yards and six touchdowns against three interceptions through two games. The Lights rushing attack has gained 280 yards.
The Saints are in the hunt for their first 2017 win after a Week 1, 45-28 defeat at Tech and Week 2 home loss to Rocky Mountain College.
Through two games, Carroll senior quarterback Tanner Gustavsen has thrown for 372 yards, three touchdowns and a pair of interceptions.
Western looks to stop skid
Coming off road losses to FCS Weber State and NAIA No. 11 Eastern Oregon University, the 1-2 Bulldogs will look to halt their losing streak as they host No. 14 Southern Oregon (2-0) on Saturday.
Western fell out of the NAIA Coaches' Poll after being ranked No. 19 in the preseason edition.
The Red Raiders have accumulated 677 passing yards and 270 rushing yards through their 41-25 win against College of Idaho and their 31-21 victory over Eastern Oregon.
Bulldogs quarterback Bennett Gibson tossed two touchdown throws and scored on a 2-yard run against Eastern Oregon.