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Rapid reaction: Montana State Bobcats 23, Western Illinois Leathernecks 14

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Posted at 6:27 PM, Sep 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-14 20:31:10-04

MACOMB, Ill. -- In a game that Montana State head football coach Jeff Choate called "not pretty", the Bobcats earned a big road win over Western Illinois 23-14.

After playing to a 7-7 draw in the first half, the Bobcats scored the first 10 points of the second and held off the Leathernecks the rest of the way. It's the second win over Western Illinois in as many seasons, after MSU defeated them at home 26-23 last year.

MSU running back Isaiah Ifanse sat the game out with an injury suffered last week against Southeast Missouri State. Logan Jones started in his place and ran for 167 yards and two touchdowns. The win moves Montana State to 2-1 on the season, with one non-conference game remaining.

TURNING POINT: Logan Jones broke loose up the middle and ran for an 87-yard touchdown in the third quarter to give Montana State a 17-7 lead. The run was the third longest in program history. Choate called Jones the "fastest player on the team" earlier this week, and he certainly showed it.

STAT OF THE GAME: Penalties. 21 total penalties for 197 yards between the two teams. There were a lot of big plays on both sides of the ball that were negated due to penalties. The Bobcats had a kickoff return and an interception return for touchdowns called back due to miscues.

GAME BALLS: Jones and MSU kicker Tristan Bailey. Bailey was 3-for-3 Saturday and is now 7-for-7 on field goals against Western Illinois over the past two seasons. His 47-yard make with 2:40 remaining gave Montana State a nine-point lead and iced the game.

WHAT’S NEXT: Montana State (2-1) heads home to close out the non-conference schedule against Norfolk State (1-2) out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Spartans are coming off a loss to face Coastal Carolina.