DILLON – The 20th-ranked Montana Western Bulldogs, coming off a blowout loss to Rocky Mountain College last Saturday, needed a win Saturday against the College of Idaho to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The College of Idaho, which has been one of the hottest teams in the Frontier Conference, had other plans, though, spoiled the Bulldogs’ chances on Senior Day with a 17-14 win.
Western’s Jon Jund connected with Walker McKitrick for a 72-yard touchdown in the first quarter, but the Yotes answered back the next drive. Darius-James Patterson scrambled out of the pocket and found an open Connor Richardson to tie the game up. COI would tack on a field goal to take a 10-7 lead heading into halftime.
The Bulldogs have been known for their fourth-quarter magic this season, but right out of halftime they pulled a rabbit out of their hat. Jund went deep to Dillon native Nate Simkins, who reeled it in to give the Bulldogs a 14-10 lead.
The College of Idaho gave the Bulldogs a challenge all day and regained the lead late in the third quarter off a Justin Hellyer run, which put the Yotes up 17-14.
The fourth quarter started and Western looked like it was poised to make that fourth-quarter magic happen once again, but a Jund fumble in the red zone and a missed field goal from Mark Kharchenko came back to bite the Bulldogs. The Yotes ran out the clock in the fourth and held on for the 17-14 win over the 20th-ranked team in the NAIA, which more-than-likely spoiled the Bulldogs’ chances of making the postseason.
Western falls to 6-3 in the Frontier Conference, one game back of league-leading Rocky Mountain College. College of Idaho has now won five consecutive games after starting the season with five straight losses. The Yotes are 5-4 in conference.
Montana Western will need a lot of help to have any shot of making the playoffs. The Bulldogs travel to Ashland, Ore. next Saturday for their final game of the regular season against Southern Oregon.