BOZEMAN — With All-American running back Isaiah Ifanse spending his final year of eligibility at Cal, Montana State's Gold Rush game provided an opportunity for the rest of MSU's backfield to step up.
Eight Bobcats logged carries in No. 3 Montana State's 63-20 season-opening victory over Utah Tech, and it was a true freshman who delivered the most head-turning performance in his first college game.
Scottre Humphry piled up 114 yards and notched three touchdowns on 14 carries as the Bobcats overpowered the Trailblazers, and now MSU begins looking ahead to a rematch of last season's semifinal against No. 1 South Dakota State.
Humphry's debut with the Bobcats was memorable, but he gave credit right back to an offensive line that helped churn out over 400 rushing yards and didn't allow a sack all night.
"The blocks were so good," Humphry said. "I just ran through the holes. I put in the hard work but I got to give all credit back to my offensive linemen. The holes were there, I just ran through them."
MSU's 13-play opening drive stalled at Utah Tech's 1-yard line as the Trailblazers forced a turnover on downs. It was all Bobcats after that.
Montana State went on to score touchdowns on nine of its next 10 drives with Sean Chambers accounting for two rushing scores, Tommy Mellott and Jared White connecting for a 47-yard catch-and-run TD, and White and Julius Davis also scoring on the ground.
This fourth quarter 9-yard rushing score from Sean Chambers was one of Montana State's 9 touchdowns this evening. MSU blows past Utah Tech 63-20 and now sets its sights on a rematch of last season's semifinal against defending champion South Dakota State. #mtscores pic.twitter.com/ZpAhKFWKmA— Luke Shelton (@lukeshelton_mtn) September 3, 2023
Humphry may have had a big game, but the overall production from MSU's backfield showcased just how deep the Bobcats are at running back.
"Those guys are dogs, all the running backs are dogs," said Humphry. "Any one of us can any given day go off. I just happened to be needed today, but any of us can go off, we're all really good players."
"Our guys were really well prepared," said MSU head coach Brent Vigen. "I think we had a very deliberate plan all through camp. A game like today, it was all about the players. The players executed, they knew what they needed to do and made plays."
MSU travels to South Dakota State next Saturday for the third meeting between the two programs since the Bobcats defeated the Jackrabbits in the 2021 semifinal to head to the FCS national championship. SDSU then beat MSU in the 2022 semis and went on to defeat North Dakota State in the title game.
Vigen said the key for MSU will be to thoroughly study that loss to SDSU last December.
"You go back, to some degree you dust off what you really like," said Vigen. "You go back to the things that didn't play out so well. But I think our guys are gonna be ready to play. We got to go through the week and get on a plane on Friday and go there with an intent to put our best foot forward."
The Bobcats and Jackrabbits kick off at 5 p.m. Mountain Time on Saturday.