PORTLAND, ORE. — Montana State went into Saturday afternoon’s matchup against Portland State winning the only game they ever played at Hillsboro stadium, 43-23.
Montana State gave up less than 60 yards in the first half last week in their blowout 52-10 victory over the University of San Diego Toreros. They gave up much more than that in the first half this time around against the Vikings (204).
Tied at 3-3 with a little over 2 minutes left in the first quarter, Vikings senior quarterback Davis Alexander threw a jump ball up to his wide receiver Nate Bennett who came down with a terrific grab for a 10-yard touchdown to give PSU a 10-3 lead.
Montana State’s defense would clamp down the rest of the half and freshman kicker Blake Glessner would drill a pair of field goals before halftime to cut the deficit to one-point (10-9) at the break.
With a little over 9 minutes in the third quarter Montana State had a great kick return to put them inside the Vikings 10-yard-line and on the next play Isaiah Ifanse punched it in from 9 yards out to put MSU up 16-10.
10 plays and 75-yards later, Portland State took the lead right back as Malik Walker rushed in for a 1-yard touchdown with a little over 4 minutes left in the third. 17-16 PSU after the point after.
Montana State wasted no time answering back, three minutes and thirty seconds later quarterback Matt McKay found Bozeman native Lance McCutcheon for a 20-yard touchdown pass. The Bobcats led 23-17 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Vikings would threaten to score on the next drive, as they were near the red zone when Alexander was sacked by Cats freshman outside linebacker Brody Grebe and Chase Benson recovered it.
The Cats would drive down the field and score on a 9-yard touchdown pass from McKay to redshirt freshman running back Jaharie Martin to give the Cats a 30-17 with 9 minutes left to go in the game.
Montana State held on from there to win by the same score.
TURNING POINT: With 12:17 left in the fourth quarter Montana State led 23-17. Portland State was driving deep in Montana State territory at the 22-yard line and Vikings quarterback Davis Alexander coughed up the ball on a strip-sack by freshman outside linebacker Brody Grebe and senior defensive lineman Chase Benson recovered. They scored six plays later on a touchdown grab by Jaharie Martin to give them a 30-17 lead after the point after.
STAT OF THE GAME: 1.7 yards per carry. Montana State’s run defense completely suffocated the Vikings run game. On 32 attempts Portland State rushed for a paltry 54 yards.
GAME BALLS: Bobcats senior defensive end Daniel Hardy, junior running back Isaiah Ifanse and senior wide receiver Lance McCutcheon.
Hardy continues to dominate at his new position after switching from outside linebacker this offseason. On Saturday afternoon he had 7 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks.
Wide receiver Lance McCutcheon continues to shine during his senior season. The wide receiver finished with 8 receptions on 10 targets for 161 yards receiving and one touchdown grab.
MSU was looking for a spark from their run game and Ifanse gave it to them. The junior running back rushed for 217 yards on 30 carries for a whopping 7.2 yards per carry and one rushing touchdown.
WHAT'S NEXT: Next Saturday, the (3-1) Bobcats return home to face head coach Ed McCaffrey and the (2-2) Northern Colorado Bears at 1:05 p.m..