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Rapid reaction: Montana State Bobcats 43, Portland State Vikings 23

Posted at 6:13 PM, Sep 22, 2018
Montana State opened Big Sky Conference play with a 43-23 win at Portland State. (MTN Sports photo)

HILLSBORO, Ore. — Troy Andersen returned to the starting lineup at quarterback and helped propel Montana State to a 43-23 Big Sky Conference football win over Portland State on Saturday.

Andersen dominated the Vikings on the ground, running for 211 yards to become MSU’s first 200-yard rusher since Cody Kirk in 2011. Isaiah Ifanse added another 100 rushing yards, as Montana State averaged 6.6 yards per carry for the game. Ifanse’s first touchdown gave the Bobcats a 6-3 lead, and they wouldn’t trail the rest of the way. They led 26-16 at halftime and grew the lead to the final 43-23 margin in the third quarter.

TURNING POINT: After Portland State cut the lead back down to two scores in the third quarter, Andersen ran around the left edge, tip-toed the sideline, and sprinted away from the Vikings’ defense for a 66-yard touchdown run. It was Andersen’s second scoring run of the day, which quelled any potential Portland State comeback. The Bobcats’ defense, aided by two Bryce Sterk two sacks, forced a punt on PSU’s next possession.

STAT OF THE GAME: Montana State averaged 6.6 yards per carry and 7.6 yards per play. Andersen and Ifanse combined for 311 yards and four touchdowns on 41 carries. Tyler Natee had four carries for 13 yards and a 1-yard touchdown.

GAME BALLS: Andersen, Sterk and Jahque Alleyne. Not only did Andersen rush for 211 yards, he passed for 107 yards and another touchdown and caught one pass from Tucker Rovig for 32 yards. Sterk’s two sacks brought him to five on the season, which leads MSU. He also had a team-high six total tackles, five solo, against the Vikings. Alleyne had a big first-quarter interception that set up Ifanse’s first touchdown run. Alleyne and the MSU secondary limited Portland State tight end Charlie Taumoepeau to 50 receiving yards. Taumoepeau entered the game with 326 receiving yards and five touchdowns in the Vikings’ first three games.

WHAT’S NEXT: Montana State returns to Bobcat Stadium to face Eastern Washington on Sept. 29. The Eagles drilled Cal Poly 70-17 on Saturday to improve to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in Big Sky Conference play. EWU is the highest-ranked Big Sky team in the FCS top 25, where it is ranked sixth in both major polls. Kickoff between the Bobcats and Eagles is set for 1 p.m.