Boston’s INT return lifts MSU past Crookston

CROOKSTON, Minn. – Junior defensive back Brandon Boston returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown with two minutes remaining to give Minot State University a 20-19 victory over Minnesota Crookston on Saturday at Ed Widseth Field.

Boston stepped in front of a Kyle Larson pass on third-and-3 and bolted down the sideline, snapping the Beavers’ five-game losing streak.

“They’d been running some speed cuts,” MSU coach Paul Rudolph said in a phone interview. “(Larson) always looked at the inside guys first and then went outside. (Linebacker) Josh Weidler did a good job of making sure that inside guy was covered, so he looked outside and was a little late with it. Brandon just stepped under it.”

On Crookston’s next possession, MSU freshman defensive back Bryce Broome stopped Larson a yard short on fourth-and-6 from the UMC 34 to seal the win.

MSU (2-6, 1-3) opened the scoring with Brian Gutierrez’s 25-yard field goal with 45 seconds left in the first quarter.

Gutierrez attempted another field goal just before halftime, but Crookston blocked it and Paul Webster returned it 85 yards for a touchdown. MSU freshman Dalton Houghton blocked the ensuing extra point, which would turn out to be a huge play in the Beavers’ one-point victory.

Crookston tailback Talo Pascal ran for a 41-yard touchdown to give the Golden Eagles a 12-3 lead with 12:59 left in the third quarter.

MSU responded with a seven-play, 72-yard drive capped by junior Leon LaDeaux’s 22-yard touchdown reception.

Crookston (2-6 overall, 2-2 NSIC North) tacked on another touchdown in the third quarter, but the Beavers scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth.

MSU outgained the Golden Eagles 233-164, led by freshman Jarvis Mustipher’s 126 yards on 27 carries. More importantly, the Beavers didn’t commit a single turnover despite entering the game leading the conference in that category.

“Whenever you don’t turn it over, you always give yourself a chance,” Rudolph said. “Ultimately, it probably came down to some stuff like that.”

Junior safety Levi Freidt also recorded an interception for MSU, and sophomore linebacker Matt Sumlin recovered a fumble he forced.

MSU sophomore Zac Cunha completed 13 of 31 passes for 128 yards and was sacked six times. LaDeaux led the Beavers with 82 yards receiving on six catches.

MSU hosts Minnesota State Moorhead (2-6, 2-2) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

– Daniel Allar