CALDWELL, Idaho – Nick Calzaretta rushed for 163 yards and five touchdowns as the College of Idaho upset No. 17 Montana Tech 64-35 on Saturday afternoon at Simplot Stadium.
Four of Calzaretta’s scoring plays came on runs under 10 yards, with the other a 68-yard sprint to the end zone early in the fourth quarter. Quarterback Darius Peterson added 92 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the win.
It was the second straight defeat for Montana Tech, which saw its offense playing without star quarterback Quinn McQueary and halfback Jed Fike. Fike rushed for times for 11 yards before leaving the contest. Davan Norris played well at times in place of McQueary, throwing for 357 yards and four touchdowns. Norris was sacked by the ‘Yotes defense three times in the loss.
The contest certainly started in favor of the Orediggers (6-3) as Norris found Dion Williams on a four-yard scoring strike to put Tech up 7-0. But a missed onside kick led to Calzaretta scoring his first touchdown of the game a mere 20 seconds later to tie the contest at 7-7.
College of Idaho took the lead when Petersen scored from a yard out, but Tech marched 93 yards downfield and capitalized on a Braden Feisthamel one-yard plunge to again square the game at 14. Peterson swiftly led the ‘Yotes on another scoring drive, punching it in from a yard out for a 21-14 advantage after the opening quarter.
Keenan Pattwell sprinted 66 yards for a first down on College of Idaho’s opening drive of the second quarter and eventually scored two plays later to give the ‘Yotes a 28-14 lead. After Norris hit Chris Kelly on a 23-yard touchdown pass to bring the Orediggers back to within seven, C of I went 69 yards in eight plays, with Peterson’s second score of the game giving the ‘Yotes a 34-21 halftime lead.
Following a Calzaretta touchdown, C of I added a safety to open a 43-21 lead early in the third quarter. Calzaretta’s added three more touchdowns in the final 16:05 to preserve the win for College of Idaho.
The loss dampens Montana Tech’s playoff hopes. The two-time defending Frontier Conference champions next face Southern Oregon (9-0) which clinched the 2017 league championship with its win at MSU-Northern on Saturday.