Montana State Falls to Southern Utah at Home - News, Sports and Weather

Montana State Falls to Southern Utah at Home

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Southern Utah scored 21 straight points over a 12-minute stretch of the second half to race past Montana State 34-23 in Bozeman on Saturday.

The Thunderbirds capitalized on MSU mistakes, intercepting three Bobcat passes – the game’s only turnovers – and benefited greatly from 12 MSU penalties for 123 yards. “That was a huge factor in the game,” MSU coach Rob Ash said of his team’s mistakes. “Southern Utah is good enough that giving them extra opportunities is dangerous.”

The Bobcats posted a solid first half, with Chad Newell scoring on a one-yard run midway through the first quarter. After a three-yard run by Levi Te’o with 8:02 remaining in the second quarter, Luke Daly’s 32-yard field goal gave the Bobcats a 10-7 edge at the intermission.

“I thought we really played good football in the first half,” Ash said. “If anything, we could had a bigger lead if it weren’t for the problems we caused ourselves.”

Southern Utah stormed out of the gates in the second half. The Thunderbirds needed just five plays to cover 75 yards in the third quarter’s first drive, with Ammon Olsen finding Mike Sharp on a 20-yard scoring pass. The Bobcats answered. Dakota Prukop scampered for 25 yards and a steady diet of running backs Newell and Gunnar Brekke culminated in a four-yard Newell run. MSU led 17-13.

The ensuing possession featured the game’s most crucial and controversial play. Facing a fourth-and-seven, Olsen was tripped and appeared down short of the line to gain. He flung the ball forward, however, and it was corralled by Malik Brown, who rumbled for 10 yards. The play was overruled in the booth, and Southern Utah maintained possession. The Thunderbirds scored two plays later to regain the lead and take control of the game.

The Thunderbird defense forced a three-and-out on MSU’s next possession, and after the Cats forced a Thunderbirds punt Dakota Prukop was intercepted at the Bobcat 26. Southern Utah scored two plays later, when Te’o rumbled 26 yards to give the Thunderbirds a 26-17 lead.

Montana State’s defense turned in a solid performance, limiting SUU to 395 yards of total offense and just 152 on the ground. Olsen completed just 20 of his 40 pass attempts. Southern Utah surrendered 420 yards to the Bobcats, but in addition to the three interceptions broke up four passes and registered seven tackles for loss and a sack. Prukop rushed for 96 yards and threw for 163 for the Cats. Newell rushed for two touchdowns.

Southern Utah maintains its hold on the Big Sky lead with the win, raising its record to 7-2 overall and 6-0 in the conference. MSU falls to 4-5 overall, 2-4 in the league. The Bobcats visit Idaho State next Saturday at 2:35 pm.

Montana State Sports Information

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