BOZEMAN — Tucker Rovig passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns and Isaiah Ifanse totaled 218 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns as Montana State ran past Wagner College 47-24 Saturday at Bobcat Stadium.
After the Bobcats gave up a 98-yard touchdown to Wagner’s Denzel Knight on the game’s opening kickoff, Rovig and Ifanse gave the MSU offense a spark in the first half it had yet to see in two games this season. Rovig, who started at quarterback in the place of injured Troy Andersen, hit Ifanse for a 27-yard touchdown to tie the game midway through the first quarter, and the Bobcats wouldn’t trail again. Ifanse later added 73-yard scoring run, and Tyler Natee and Andersen each added rushing touchdowns in the game. Kevin Kassis caught Rovig’s other two touchdown passes and totaled nine catches for 126 yards.
TURNING POINT: Despite giving up a touchdown on the game’s opening kickoff, it never felt like Montana State was in jeopardy of losing its final non-conference game of the season. The Bobcats clinched the win with a fourth-down stop on Wagner’s first possession of the fourth quarter. With the Seahawks facing 4th-and-5 at the MSU 35-yard line, the Bobcats forced Wagner quarterback T.J. Linta into an incomplete pass with 10:13 remaining in the game. Two plays later, Andersen took his second carry of the game 57 yards for a touchdown, giving MSU a 47-24 lead.
STAT OF THE GAME: 310 passing yards. After MSU’s passing offense struggled in two games to start the season, Rovig was sharp against Wagner. The redshirt freshman completed 23 of 34 passes on his way to the 310-yard passing day. Rovig threw three touchdown passes and zero interceptions. He did lose the ball on a fumble in the first half.
GAME BALLS: Rovig and Tyrell Thomas. There doesn’t need to be much more said about Rovig, who was excellent in his home debut. The passing game also opened up the MSU rushing attack, which finished the game with 247 yards. It was an up-and-down day for the Bobcat defense, but Tyrell Thomas came up big in the defensive secondary with two pass break-ups, including one in the end zone that held Wagner to a field goal. Linta completed just 15 of 32 passes for 208 yards, zero touchdowns and zero interceptions.
WHAT’S NEXT: After finishing its non-conference schedule with a 2-1 record, Montana State hits the road to start Big Sky Conference play at Portland State (1-2). Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. (MT) Sept. 22 at Portland, Ore. The Vikings started the season with back-to-back losses to FBS opponents Nevada and Oregon before getting into the win column against NAIA College of Idaho on Saturday.