DILLON — What for one half looked like a sunny stroll in the park for Montana Western turned into something a bit more blustery in the second but the Bulldogs, as they so often do, buckled down and weathered the elements.
Western surged to a 28-0 halftime lead and then fended off a spirited second-half rally from MSU-Northern to walk away from Vigilante Stadium with a 42-28 victory to improve to 3-1 on the season on a gusty Saturday afternoon in Dillon. The win also extended the Bulldogs' streak of home wins to seven.
Jon Jund and Nate Simkins connected for three first-half passing touchdowns as the No. 23 Bulldogs extended their win streak to two after toppling No. 11 Dickinson State last week.
"We didn't want to have a letdown like that in the second half after we were up," Simkins said after the game. "We were giving up some touchdowns, not really firing on all cylinders."
Northern, which dropped to 0-3 overall, is still in the hunt for its first Frontier Conference win since beating Carroll College at home on September 17, 2016.
Jund's first-half scores to Simkins went for 21, 2 and 8 yards, with two of them coming off Northern turnovers. Colten McPhee, who would finish the game with 160 rushing yards, also added on a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Bulldogs what seemed like an untouchable lead heading into the break.
Then Northern's Izayah Boss scored on a 50-yard run to make it 28-7. Then, on Western's next drive, Isaiah Paul intercepted Jund and returned it 45 yards for a pick six and it was suddenly 28-14 with a full quarter left to play.
But Western got an insurance run less than 30 game seconds later. Jamison Hermanson corralled a short, tipped pass from Jund and bolted 69 yards to give Western a three-score lead again at 35-14.
Boss scored on a 5-yard run on Northern's next drive but Western answered back with a 17-yard touchdown run from Sean Cooney to give the Bulldogs a 42-21 lead with 7:45 to ice the victory.
"It was good to get the win," Simkins said.
The Bulldogs now gear up to face Montana Tech next weekend while the Northern Lights host Rocky Mountain College.