Montana mauls N.D. in Badlands Bowl
MILES CITY, Mont. - The 24th annual Knights of Columbus Badlands Bowl was not much of a contest, as the Montana All-Stars dominated border rival North Dakota.
The Treasure State trounced the Roughrider State 65-0 in Miles City, the widest margin of victory in the game's history.
The point total surpassed the previous record mark of 55 set by Montana in 2004, and it all happened despite a running clock with 5:59 remaining in the third quarter.
It was also just the third time ever that a team had been shut out in the Badlands Bowl.
"We were looking to dominate," said Bozeman wide receiver Lance McCutcheon. "I personally didn't think it was going to be 65-0, but it was. It's just a great feeling for us, because we put in a lot of work in one week of practice."
"You never expect that," said Montana head coach Chris Murdock, who is also the head coach at Billings Senior. "You're always expecting 0-0 heading into the fourth quarter, and that's what we planned for and prepared for. I was just impressed by how our boys just didn't even look at the scoreboard. They just kept playing hard and kept executing."
McCutcheon was named Montana's Offensive MVP after the future Montana State Bobcat hauled in two touchdowns.
Both came in the first half, when the Treasure State raced out to a 38-0 lead.
"I just wanted to go out there and show what I can do, and a lot of those (North Dakota) guys were talking. It was nice to shut them down."
However, the defense provided the first score of the game, courtesy of Sidney's Dawson McGlothlin, who returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown.
The Montana defense forced six turnovers, including five interceptions and three total pick-sixes.
A lot of the success came down to the preparation of defensive coordinator Rick Nordahl, who has won three state championships as head coach of the Dillon Beavers and five more as an assistant.
"We were ready for everything they threw at us," Nordahl said. "We had a good defense that we could check, whether they went two tight and ran it at us or open and try to throw it. We were kind of hoping they would (throw it) so we could utilize our speed and our secondary to get the pick-sixes."
"He got us really prepared," said linebacker Marcus Welnel of Nordahl. "He's a great guy, I like him a lot as a coach. He explained everything really well and got us in the right position, obviously."
Welnel earned Defensive MVP honors for Montana by making plays all over the field.
The Helena Capital product and future Montana Grizzly came up with a touchdown of his own, returning an interception 62 yards to the house.
"It was a lot of fun," Welnel said. "I haven't played football in a while so, just to get back on this field, I was pretty amped up and ready to go."
Thanks to the most emphatic win yet the Treasure State now leads the all-time Badlands Bowl series 18-6.