Bobcats Rally to Top Hornets - News, Sports and Weather

Bobcats Rally to Top Hornets

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Rob Ash summed up Montana State's winning equation succinctly.

“Our offense was very, very good,” said Montana State's eighth-year football coach after his team beat Sacramento State 59-56 in Hornet Stadium on Saturday night. “Our special teams was also really good. And it was a tough matchup for our defense, but they made the plays we needed them to make.”

The result was a stunning, improbable win in which both offenses flew up and down the field. In the end, the Bobcats put together two drives in the game's final 4:05 to grab the win. Dakota Prukop hit Gunnar Brekke on a brilliantly-conceived and executed 27-yard touchdown pass to give MSU a 52-49 lead with 2:31 to play, then Prukop found freshman receiver Mitchell Herbert on a five-yard touchdown pass with four seconds left for the win.

Prukop's spectacular night concluded with 348 passing yards and another 140 on the ground. He accounted for all eight of MSU's touchdowns.

“He showed the poise and maturity of an older quarterback,” Ash said. “That was a spectacular performance.”

Prukop wasn't alone. Gunnar Brekke rushed for five yards, but caught two passes for 59 yards and returned six kickoffs for 244 yards. Two of those set up MSU touchdowns. Herbert caught five passes, as did Mitch Griebel. Cole Moore had an interception in the end zone to close the first half, costing Sac State a field goal try.

“That's what we do,” Ash said. “This was a team win. A lot of different guys stepped up and made plays.”

The frenetic early minutes of the game began with a bang. On the game's second play, Josh Armstrong jumped an MSU flat route and scampered into the end zone from 31 yards, giving the Hornets a 7-0 lead.

Montana State responded. Dakota Prukop capped a six play, 66-yard drive with a 30-yard run to draw the Bobcats even. But on the play after MSU's kickoff, Hornet receiver Nnamdi Agude slipped away from the Bobcat secondary and Garrett Safron found him alone for a 75-yard touchdown strike. The Hornets, at that point, held a 14-7 lead with one offensive play from scrimmage.

Again, the Cats answered. Prukop found Justin Paige in the end zone, and the Bobcat freshman made a contested catch to draw MSU even 14-14 with 8:34 left in the first quarter. On the Cats' next possession, Lee Perkins was the recipient of Prukop's distribution efficiency, snagging a nine-yard pass for a touchdown and a 21-14 lead.

That closed the scoring for a first half that saw MSU compile 289 yards and 16 first downs. After the pick-six to open the game, Prukop connected on his next nine pass attempts, finishing the half with 56 yards rushing and 169 passing. Safron threw for 152 yards in the first half, and Agude caught two passes for 111 yards.

Montana State raised its record to 4-2 overall, 2-0 in Big Sky play.

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