BOZEMAN — Montana State’s offense rushed for 322 yards Saturday and defeated rival Montana 31-23 in a thriller in front of 19,907 fans at Bobcat Stadium, which was the 117th football meeting between the schools.
The Bobcats defeated the Grizzlies here for the first time since 2005, and won two in a row in the series for the first time since going back-to-back in 2002-03.
MSU finished its season 5-6 overall and 5-3 in the Big Sky Conference. The Grizzlies, who were looking to sew up a playoff berth with a win, fell to 7-4 and to 5-3 in the league.
We're 15 minutes from kickoff in the 117th football meeting between archrivals Montana and Montana State at Bobcat Stadium.
Montana is 7-3 overall and 5-2 in the Big Sky Conference, and hopes to sew up an FCS playoff berth with a victory today. The Bobcats are 4-6 overall and 4-3 in the league, and hope to send 14 seniors out with a second straight win over the Griz.
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Check here for quarter-by-quarter updates, with scores and details.
First quarter: The Grizzlies took the opening drive and struck first with a 20-yard field goal by Brandon Purdy. It was been revealed that the MSU coaches' headsets are not working on the sideline. The Bobcats won the field-position battle, but each team was forced to punt twice. Score: 3-0 Montana
Second quarter: In a more eventful quarter, Chris Murray moved the chains by running away from trouble on fourth down and the Bobcats ended up scoring on a 2-yard pitch to Troy Andersen to take a 7-3 advantage. After Mac Bignell made a 10-yard tackle for loss on fourth down MSU scored again as Nick LaSane burst up the middle for a 71-yard touchdown run to make it 14-3. But the Grizzlies answered quickly, capping a seven-play drive with a 14-yard TD run by Jeremy Calhoun. The scoring pace continued on the Bobcats' next drive, as Andersen gets into the end zone again, this time for 19 yards out. Purdy added a 42-yard field goal for the Griz with 27 seconds left. Score: 21-13 Montana State
Third quarter: The Bobcats faced a third-and-35 play on the first possession of the second half, but Murray ran for 36 yards on two plays to move the chains. It resulted in a 20-yard field goal by Gabe Peppenger and a 24-13 lead with 6:06 left in the quarter. MSU safety Khari Garcia intercepted Griz quarterback Gresch Jensen to snuff out a Montana drive. Score: 24-13 Montana State
Fourth quarter: Purdy added his his third field goal of the day to make the score 24-16, but Murray led the Bobcats on a eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that he capped with a 4-yard scoring run. That put MSU ahead 31-16 with 6:20 remaining. The Grizzlies answered only 55 seconds later with a 32-yard Jensen-to-Keenan Curran touchdown pass to make it 31-23. The Bobcats then went three-and-out but got the ball back after the ball slipped out of Jensen's hand on a pass attempt, which was ruled a fumble. Montana got the ball back again, though, with 2:08 left, but their last-ditch drive ended when Tyrel Thomas broke up a Jensen pass on fourth down with four seconds left.