BOZEMAN — Montana State is heading into its annual rivalry matchup with Montana on a big-time roll.
Quarterback Sean Chambers accounted for five touchdowns, the team scored 21 points off takeaways and No. 5 Montana State cruised to a 57-14 victory over Eastern Washington on Saturday at Bobcat Stadium.
MSU is now 8-2 overall and 6-1 in Big Sky Conference play entering its regular-season finale on the road against the Grizzlies next week.
Chambers ran for two touchdowns and threw two others in the first half. His 51-yard TD strike to Ty McCullouch one play after an interception by linebacker Nolan Askelson gave the Cats a 28-0 lead with 11:35 left before halftime.
After an EWU three-and-out, Tommy Mellott and running back Scottre Humphrey combined on a 63-yard touchdown pass and a 34-0 advantage. Later, after a long Mellott run, Chambers hit McCullouch again, this time for a 43-yard TD pass.
The Bobcats averaged a whopping 14.5 yards per play in the first half and led 41-7 at intermission.
Turning point: Early in the second quarter, MSU defensive back Simeon Woodard forced a fumble from EWU’s Blake Gobel that was recovered by the Bobcats’ Ben Seymour and returned to the 2-yard line.
That set up a short touchdown run by Chambers and gave MSU a 21-0 lead. At that point the Bobcats had forced the Eagles into an uphill climb, and it only got steeper for the Eagles from there.
Stat of the game: Known primarily for a running game that averages more than 300 yards per game, MSU’s offense – led by Chambers and Mellott – threw for 256 yards on Saturday, including touchdown passes of 51, 63 and 43 yards in the second quarter alone. McCullouch finished with 125 yards on four receptions with two TDs.
Bobcat game balls: QB Sean Chambers (Offense). Chambers, a touchdown machine in his two years in Bozeman, piled up five of them in the first half despite only touching the ball nine times. Chambers threw for 119 yards and rushed for 68 more.
LB Nolan Askelson (Defense). Askelson had a solid day in what was an all-around effort for MSU’s defense. The Billings Senior product finished with eight tackles with an interception and a pass breakup, and the Cats held EWU to just 65 total yards on its first six possessions.
PK Casey Kautzman (Special teams). Kautzman, a redshirt freshman from Butte, had two extra points blocked but was good on two field goal tries as he continues to give the Bobcats a bit more assurance in the field goal game after Brendan Halls’ struggles in the weeks prior.
What’s next: As if you needed a reminder, the Bobcats travel to Missoula next week for the 122nd football matchup between Montana and Montana State. The game will certainly have playoff seeding implications and will also play a big role in deciding the Big Sky championship.
The game will kick off at 12 p.m. from Washington-Grizzly Stadium. The Bobcats whipped the Grizzlies 55-21 last season and have won five of the past six matchups dating back to 2016.