Courtesy: Montana State Sports Information
The Montana State football team racked up over 400 yards rushing and held off Portland State en route to a 30-22 Big Sky Conference victory Saturday, Oct. 7, in front of 18,987 fans at Bobcat Stadium.
The Bobcats (2-3, 2-1) used a balanced offensive and defensive effort to pick up their first victory at home this season. The Vikings dropped to 0-5 overall and 0-2 in Big Sky play in the defeat.
Both teams traded their first three possessions before Montana State got on the scoreboard.
MSU completed a four-play, 60-yard drive with sophomore quarterback Chris Murray ending it with a three-yard rushing touchdown with 2 minutes, 13 seconds to go in the first quarter.
The Vikings tied things up at the 6:28 mark in the second quarter.
Portland State got the ball thanks to an interception and drove 46 yards in seven plays, capping the drive on a rush from one-yard by Jason Talley.
The Bobcats responded by ending the first half scoring with a field goal to take back the lead.
MSU finished an 11-play, 53-yard drive that spanned 5 minutes with kicker Gabe Peppenger knocking in a 34-yard field goal against a blistering wind. That pushed the Bobcats up 10-7 heading into halftime.
The third quarter featured 13 Bobcat unanswered points that eventually sealed the contest for Montana State.
The Bobcats opened the quarter with a drive that reached six minutes and spanned across 75 yards. MSU methodically rushed the ball down the field on the legs of Troy Andersen, Logan Jones, Nick LaSane and Murray. The 'Cats finished it off with Murray barreling into defenders for a five-yard touchdown run.
Montana State's defense had a solid day, forcing eight punts on Portland State's first nine drives. The defense got its first points of the season after a Viking three-and-out. PSU's punter bobbled the snap and after a scrum in the end zone, freshman Chad Kanow recovered the fumble for a touchdown to put the Bobcats up 23-7.
Portland State was able to find the end zone on a 24-yard touchdown pass before the end of the third quarter and cut the deficit to 23-14 heading into the final 15 minutes of action.
The Bobcat defense forced two turnover on downs in the fourth quarter. The first led to MSU's final score of the contest.
Following a blocked punt, MSU took over on the PSU 26, and on second down the Bobcats ran a reverse with senior Justin Paige following Murray around the left side 23 yards into the end zone for a rushing touchdown.
That score put Montana State up 30-14. The Vikings were able to notch one more touchdown with 1:21 left the game, but their ensuing onside kick sailed out of bounds and they were unable to stop the clock with no timeouts remaining.
The Bobcats registered 403 yards on the ground, the sixth most in a single game in program history. Murray led the team with 126 yards on 18 carries and two touchdowns. Troy Andersen rushed for 85 yards while LaSane (63) and Vander (58) were key contributors to the cause.
MSU's defense was led by Senior Mac Bignell who had a team-high nine tackles with two for loss. Brayden Konkol had eight tackles, Bryson McCabe followed with seven, while Tryone Fa'anono also picked up two tackles for loss.
Fa'anono and Grant Collins each had a sack apiece.
Montana State goes on the road for its next two games. The Bobcats travel to Cheney to face Eastern Washington on Oct. 14, then make a trip to Greeley to take on Northern Colorado on Oct. 21. MSU returns to Bobcat Stadium on Oct. 28 to host Idaho State.