SW Oklahoma 33, Montana Tech 31
WEATHERFORD, Okla. (AP) _ Linebacker Mark Patterson tackled Chris Turner in the end zone for a safety with 4:17 to play, and Southwestern Oklahoma defeated Montana Tech 33-31 Saturday to win the NAIA championship.
The Bulldogs won the title in a season marred by the Oct. 28 traffic death of team captain and wide receiver Alvin Milton.
Milton, 22, and three Southwestern Oklahoma State basketball players were killed when their car slid out of control during a blinding thunderstorm and was struck by a truck on Interstate 40.
Keith Kizzie, who rushed for 100 yards on 24 carries, scored the first of his two touchdowns with 8:59 to play in the first quarter to give Southwestern Oklahoma a 6-0 lead.
Montana Tech took a 7-6 lead with 3:51 left in the quarter on Mark Jensen’s 25-yard TD pass to Bryan Larson.
Southwestern Oklahoma (9-3) regained the lead early in the second quarter on Brad Woodard’s 59-yard scoring toss to Josh Vincent.
Montana Tech (7-5) nosed back into the lead at the 7:42 mark on Jensen’s 17-yard pass to Josh Vincent.
The Bulldogs came back and regained the lead at 18-14 with 2:04 to play when Kizzie bulled into the end zone from the 3-yard line.
But the Orediggers took the ensuing kickoff and drove down the field to take a 21-18 lead into the half.
Southwestern Oklahoma went ahead 25-21 early in the third quarter on Willie Brown’s 4-yard run.
Montana Tech came back with a field goal and Turner’s 18-yard scoring run to lead 31-25 as the third quarter ended.
Southwestern Oklahoma tied at the game at 31-31 with 8:02 to play on Woodard’s 10-yard pass to Charwick Reed before scoring the winning points on Patterson’s safety with 4:17 to play.
Jensen, who rushed for a team-high 58 yards on 15 carries, completed 18 of 29 passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns. Woodard completed eight of 19 passes for 171 yards and two scores.
Montana Tech linebacker Paul Hladky led the Orediggers with 14 tackles.