BOZEMAN — Montana State jumped all over FCS foe Morehead State in the first half Saturday and cruised to a 63-13 victory at Bobcat Stadium.
Quarterback Sean Chambers threw touchdown passes to Willie Patterson and Clevan Thomas Jr. within the first five minutes. Marqui Johnson added a 23-yard TD run and true freshman Taco Dowler broke free for a 67-yard punt return for another score as MSU took a 28-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Chambers and starting QB Tommy Mellott combined for six total touchdowns. Chambers threw two and ran for two others while Mellott had a pair of scoring throws to go along with 265 passing yards.
The Bobcats were without running backs Isaiah Ifanse and Lane Sumner, the latter of which rushed for a career-high 176 yards last week in a win over McNeese State. Backup Jared White was injured on his only carry and didn't return. Kaegun Williams was also out. But MSU still put up 380 rushing yards, led by Chambers’ 127.
Turning point: Dowler’s punt return essentially put the game away, giving the Bobcats an insurmountable four-touchdown lead as time expired in the first quarter. After that, the Bobcats scored four more TDs to extend the blowout.
Dowler finished the game with 78 yards on two punt returns, an average of 39 yards per return.
Stat of the game: The Bobcats’ offense put up a whopping 675 yards, on the heels of piling up more than 500 last week against McNeese State. Among those were 380 rushing yards on 31 attempts, an average of 12.3 per carry.
Game balls: QB Sean Chambers (offense). A transfer from Wyoming, Chambers opened the game with two touchdown throws and then scored two others with his feet in the second half. Chambers finished with 157 total yards.
DL Sebastian Valdez (defense). The blowout meant the Bobcats were able to play just about everybody on defense, but interior lineman Sebastian Valdez again made his presence known in the early portion of the contest. Valdez finished with three tackles, a sack, a pass breakup and a forced fumble.
PR Taco Dowler (special teams). A true freshman out of Billings West, Dowler is wasting no time making an impact. His punt return for a touchdown showed why Dowler was one of the prime in-state recruits coming out of high school in 2022.
What’s next: The Bobcats will take their 2-0 record on the road next week in their toughest matchup to date when they play up against Oregon State of the Pac-12. It will be the first-ever matchup between the Bobcats and Beavers.
The game will be played at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon, and is scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m. Mountain time. It will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.