BUTTE — On Saturday afternoon, fifth-ranked Montana Tech sent a statement to the rest of the Frontier League.
No. 23 Eastern Oregon came to Alumni Coliseum hoping to pull the upset. The Mountaineers walked off Bob Green field after enduring a 62-14 drubbing in a game that was all but over before halftime.
“What we were looking for, our coaching staff, was for us to play great team football today,” Montana Tech head coach Chuck Morrell said. “We wanted all three phases clicking.”
Six touchdowns from quarterback Quinn McQueary and 174 yards on 11 carries from running back Jed Fike? Check mark.
Allow just 234 offensive yards and nearly return a pick for a touchdown? That’s a check mark for the defense.
Perfect on extra points, make both field goal attempts and have Levi Lynde break the school record set by Davis Almanza (who also was part of the Tech Hall of Fame class honored at halftime) with an 88-yard punt return? Give special teams one, too.
“The offense has been rolling, we wanted to get the defense rolling, we got special teams going today,” Morrell said. “When we get all three phases going, we’re a tough out.”
As it’s been all season, the Oredigger offense came up with huge plays throughout the game. McQueary went 23 for 38 for 352 yards and found five different wide receivers for touchdowns.
He had completions to seven and the senior quarterback feels he’s been seeing the field well in the early part of the season.
“A lot of credit goes to (Offensive coordinator Pete) Sterbick right now. He’s drawing up plays, scheming these guys up and it’s making it really easy for me and the rest of the guys,” McQueary said. “All I have to do is really air it up to them and they go get it.”
Fike’s nearly seamless immersion with the team has been a major boon for the team as well. The junior transfer racked up massive amounts of yardage on the ground, but he’s proven his worth in the passing game as well.
On Saturday afternoon he hauled in three passes for 52 yards, including a 30-yarder for a score that put Tech up 42-7 at the end of the first half.
Fike is fifth on the team in receptions, is an excellent route-runner and has the ability to gain all sorts of yards after the catch.
“He’s been incredibly dynamic,” Morrell said. “That’s something we’re just starting to tap into and I think there’s even more there.”
There was also a challenge to the defense to play better this week. Giving up 21 points in the fourth quarter to Rocky Mountain College nearly led to Tech getting upset.
It would not be the case this week as the Tech defense gave up just 64 yards rushing to the Mountaineers, who came into the game averaging 213.7 a game.
Eastern Oregon had no rhythm offensively, used three different quarterbacks and threw two interceptions. It was forced to punt 12 times and gave up six sacks. Linebacker Connor Wines lead the way with 3.5 sacks and seven total tackles as well as a pass breakup.
“It was time for us, defensively, to step to the plate,” Morrell said. “I’m a defensive guy so we’re going to have a lot of pride on playing defense.
“We’ve seen that spark and we just needed to be able to do it for an entire game. We saw that today.”