Montana State athletics release

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento State out-scored Montana State 20-0 in the fourth quarter and beat the Bobcats 41-38 in Hornet Stadium on Saturday.

The stunning comeback came after the Cats built a 38-21 lead with 20 minutes to play after Chad Newell scored his second touchdown of the night. It spoiled marvelous individual performances, particularly but Newell, Gunnar Brekke and freshman quarterback Chris Murray.

And it left the Bobcats feeling sick. “It’s a terrible feeling,” Newell said. Senior linebacker Fletcher Collins added, “Credit Sacramento State for fighting to the end. We made too many mistakes.”

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Sac State’s comeback started when Jordan Robinson plunged in from one yard out with 11:22 to play, drawing the Hornets within 38-28. Just under seven minutes later, Jaelin Ratliff caught a 17-yard pass from Nate Ketteringham to pull the Hornets within four, but Fletcher Collins’ blocked PAT kept the Cats more than a field goal ahead.

Then the Hornets pieced together an eight-play, 68-yard drive for the game-winner. Again, Ratliff caught the pass, from 15 yards, also from Ketteringham, who finished with 356 yards passing.

“Their quarterback is getting better every game and I thought he played very well tonight,” said Bobcat coach Jeff Choate. “They kept fighting, we made some mistakes, and they took advantage. The credit goes to them.”

Ketteringham’s big day overcame a marvelous effort by MSU’s Chris Murray. The Bobcat freshman rushed for 187 yards and three touchdowns, and threw for 104 yards. “He made some big plays,” Choate said. “He is improving every day.”

Bobcat senior Gunnar Brekke rushed for 106 yards, and Newell added 86. MSU rushed for 385 yards as a team and gained 508 total yards.

The first half was a back-and-forth affair, impacted by two Bobcats on offense and an aggressive defense. The first drive of the game, an MSU three-and-out, turned into a scoring drive when Sacramento State botched a punt and Mitch Herbert recovered. Gabe Peppenger’s 31-yard gave the Cats a 3-0 lead.

The Hornets answered late in the first quarter when Nate Ketteringham found Isaiah Henne on an 11-yard scoring strike. The Cats answered when Chad Newell plowed in from one yard out on the first drive of the second quarter. The first quarter belonged largely to Newell, who gained 53 yards on six rushes in that period. He carried only four more times (for eight yards) in the second quarter.

By then, Murray had exploded onto the scene. With 10:01 remaining in the second quarter he scampered 17 yards for a touchdown to give the Bobcats a 17-7 lead. Three-and-a-half minutes later he dashed 59 yards for a touchdown. And on the other side of halftime, he rambled 58 yards for a touchdown.

While Newell and Murray sparked the Bobcat offense, the defense was up to its old tricks. The Cats intercepted two passes in the first half and recovered a fumble, and although the turnovers only led to three points before intermission they squelched Hornets scoring chances.

The Bobcats fall to 2-3 with the loss, 0-2 in Big Sky play. Sacramento State is 1-4 overall, 1-1 in the league. MSU hosts Northern Arizona next week.

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