BUTTE — The last time Montana Tech posted a win against Carroll College was 2017, when quarterback Jet Campbell was a redshirt freshman off a stellar career at Billings Central.
The Orediggers swept the Fighting Saints that season, but haven't had much luck against their arch rival since then. Carroll came away with wins in their matchups in 2018, 2019 and 2021 to make it three straight wins against Tech.
Now a redshirt senior, Campbell will get one last chance to prevail over the Saints on Saturday in Montana Tech's annual Copper Game home opener. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at Bob Green Field.
Campbell knows that this rivalry is steeped in tradition and he is fully aware of what's at stake whenever green and copper clash with purple and gold.
"That's kind of like the biggest game of the year for most of us," Campbell said at a practice earlier this week. "Winning against Carroll obviously means a huge deal so we're all definitely motivated and gotta get that bad taste out of our mouth from last year."
The Orediggers' convincing 38-3 season-opening win on the road against Eastern Oregon should provide plenty of confidence as Tech gets another crack at Carroll.
The Orediggers took care of business on both sides of the ball — the defense forced four turnovers (three interceptions and a fumble recovery) and Campbell led the offense with four total touchdowns — two rushing scores and passing touchdowns to Logan Kennedy and Blake Counts, who also added a rushing score.
Campbell's performance earned him Frontier Conference Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Tech head coach Kyle Samson knows all too well the kind of challenge that Carroll poses from both his time as a quarterback at MSU-Northern and now after coaching Tech against the Saints last season.
Carroll seems to be a particularly formidable opponent this time after upending No. 17 Montana Western 16-10 in the Saints' home opener last weekend. The Bulldogs loss came after they were picked to win the Frontier Conference.
"They're a very good football team, they just knocked off the No. 1 team in Montana Western," Samson said. "I think the strength of their team is they're really good up front on both sides of the ball. Their offensive line, defensive lines are very strong. They've got a lot of veterans, a lot of returners. I don't think they're a weakness on both sides of the ball on their team."
Carroll's defense racked up six sacks against Western quarterback Jon Jund and intercepted him twice. Those defensive efforts enabled the Saints to hold on for the win despite being held to 47 rushing yards and Western's offense outpacing Carroll 263 yards to 195.
But Tech saw what it was capable of in its season opener and Campbell is convinced that his team can deliver the win on Saturday if they stay committed to that same gameplan of disciplined, turnover-free football.
"I think the key is just sticking to the script," Campbell said. "When we're all on the same page we're really, really dangerous. If we can get moving early I think we can carry that through the whole game."