UMW football springs into action

Montana Western quarterback Tyler Hulse fires a touchdown pass during the final minute of Saturday’s Red-Black scrimmage. The game marked the conclusion of spring football drills at the school. J.P. Plutt photo


The University of Montana Western football team took to Vigilante Field last Saturday for its annual version of the midterm exam, the spring game, a friendly but hard-hitting affair won by the Bulldog offense, 47-21.

The culmination of a spring football term that included 13 practices, the contest pitted the Bulldog offense vs. its defense over the course of about 90 minutes and 16 drives that began from a variety of field positions, along with various special teams scenarios.

“I thought we had good give and take from both sides,” said B.J. Robertson, after overseeing his first spring game as Montana Western’s head football coach, a position he was appointed to last May.

“Both our offense and defense can leave feeling good about some things. They also both know they have some things to work on, but can be excited about the progress they have made this spring.”

As tends to happen in spring games, the defense dominated the proceedings--at least early on.

In the game’s first six drives, the Dawg D gave up just one first down and one touchdown, on a 47-yard TD run by TJ Leek.

But while the weather stayed chilly throughout the game, the Bulldog offense under new offensive coordinator Bruce Carpenter heated up, blazing into the end zone on four of its final six drives, including one that started inside its own 10-yard line and another that covered more than 60 yards in less than two minutes.

“Our defense is a more veteran unit and dominated early,” said Robertson, who played running back for the Bulldogs in the 1990s, “but I was glad to see the offense settle in and respond so well towards the end.”

The late scoring outburst gave the offense the proverbial “win” in the spring game’s heavily modified scoring system, which often forced the defense to defend a short field but awarded the D with 2 points for sacks and three-and-outs, plus 6 points for turnovers.

Looking to retain his starting QB spot from challenges by three other signal callers featured in the spring game, Tyler Hulse led an early, three-play, six-point drive and the late, final flash TD drive, which culminated with a 42-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Beau Brekke.