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Lear, MSU-Northern beat Blue Hawks 42-10

HAVRE, Mont. -- Montana State-Northern left no room for a last-minute comeback this time.

The Lights got their payback against Dickinson State on Saturday afternoon as junior quarterback Derek Lear threw for 246 yards and three first-half touchdowns while rushing for another score in the fourth quarter in a 42-10 Frontier Conference football victory at Blue Pony Stadium.

DSU (2-8, 1-8 Frontier) had defeated MSU-Northern 21-20 on Sept. 15 in Dickinson for its only Frontier victory of the season.

"We knew we'd have to play tough and had to run the ball better," DSU head coach Hank Biesiot said. "We just didn't do that."

While the Blue Hawks struggled to move the ball, the Lights (3-6, 3-6 Frontier) were dynamic offensively.

MSU-Northern held a 486 to 235 edge in total yards and DSU's offensive struggles continued as they rushed for just 60 yards on 30 combined carries.

Lear got things going for the Lights in the first quarter with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Johnston and added a 6-yard TD strike to Brandon O'Brien. He hit O'Brien again from 18 yards out in the second quarter and a 22-yard field goal by Trevor Baum made it 23-0 at halftime.

"We didn't respond to their first couple scores and match them early after that," Biesiot said.

DSU's lone touchdown came on some surprising trickery early in the third quarter.

On a designed reverse receiver pass, junior Jimmy Smith found Tanner Leak for a 24-yard touchdown pass.

Smith was a high school quarterback for Heart River, the Belfield-South Heart co-op, but has played receiver his entire DSU career.

"That's a play we've been practicing all year. We finally got some field position where we could use it," Biesiot said. "The ball was a bit underthrown. Tanner made a great individual effort to come up over the top of a guy and take it away from him."

Following an interception by Mike Fisher, DSU added a 22-yard Chad Bryant field goal to make it 23-10 with 9½ minutes left in the third quarter.

That was as close as it would get.

"That's when they started running and controlling the ball too and we had trouble getting it back," Biesiot said.

Justin Montelius, Lear and Stephen Silva had touchdown runs in the fourth quarter to widen the gap.

Silva's 41-yard score with 4:22 remaining capped the scoring.

He had 137 yards rushing on 20 carries.

DSU senior quarterback Dave Velasquez did not play after being deemed a game-time decision Friday. He is still recovering from a severely sprained ankle sustained Sept. 29 against Carroll College.

"He's getting better, but there was no sense putting him out there unless it would have given us a chance to win the game," Biesiot said.

Sophomore Matt Harkless was 9 of 18 for 106 yards while freshman Thad Lane was 3 of 9 for 45 yards.

Senior running back Presley Straub led DSU on the ground with 52 yards rushing on 20 carries.

The Blue Hawks wrap up their first Frontier Conference season next week when they hit the road to face No. 16-ranked Carroll College, which lost to Rocky Mountain College 31-28 on Saturday and is now unlikely to make the NAIA playoffs for the first time since 1999.

DSU 0 0 10 0 -- 10

MSUN 14 9 0 19 -- 42

First quarter

MSUN-Kyle Johnston 18 pass from Derek Leak (Trevor Baum kick), 10:20

MSUN-Brandon O'Brien 6 pass from Derek Lear (Baum kick), 4:10

Second quarter

MSUN-O'Brien 18 pass from Lear (kick failed), 13:39

MSUN-Baum 22 FG, 2:13

Third quarter

DSU-Tanner Leak 24 pass from Jimmy Smith (Chad Bryant kick), 10:50

DSU-Bryant 22 FG, 9:33

Fourth quarter

MSUN-Justin Montelius 2 run (kick failed), 14:55

MSUN-Lear 6 run (kick failed), 9:51

MSUN-Stephen Silva 41 run (Baum kick), 4:22


First downs 13 29

Rushes-yards 30-60 50-240

Passing yards 175 246

Comp.-Att.-Int. 13-28-1 20-28-1

Total yards 235 486

Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-0

Penalties-yards 7-79 1-15

Punts-Avg. 2-34 4-34


RUSHING: DSU, Presley Straub 20-52, Matt Harkless 8-13, Kyle Stanton 1-4, Thad Lane 1-(minus-9). MSUN, Silva 20-137, Montelius 6-24, Orin Johnson 5-21, Johnston 2-16, Lear 8-12, Chandless 4-12, Willy Vandenbos 2-10

PASSING: DSU, Matt Harkless 9-18-1 106, Jimmy Smith 1-1-0 24, Thad Lane 3-9-0 45. MSUN, Lear 20-28-1 246.

RECEIVING: DSU, Leak 6-116, Smith 4-19, J.T. Keith 1-26, Nate Zachmann 1-9, Straub 1-5. MSUN, Johnson 5-85, O'Brien 5-41, Johnston 5-77, Mick Miller 2-12, Brian Torgerson 1-14, Silva 1-10, Montelius 1-7.