BOZEMAN -- Isaiah Ifanse scored on the third offensive play of the game and fifth-seeded Montana State shut down Austin Peay en route to a 24-10 win in the quarterfinal round of the FCS playoffs Saturday at Bobcat Stadium. The win punches MSU's ticket to the semifinal round for the first time since 1984.
Ifanse sprinted 60 yards for a game-opening touchdown to kick-start a big game for the sophomore running back. He finished with an MSU playoff-record 196 rushing yards on 26 carries against the FCS's No. 7-ranked rush defense. Austin Peay entered Friday's game allowing just 91.6 yards per game and 2.79 yards per carry. The Bobcats leaned on the Governors for 279 rushing yards Friday.
Derek Marks and the MSU defense put together a dominant performance, forcing three-and-outs on Austin Peay's first five drives. The Governors had just 1 yard of offense in the first quarter, 63 yards at halftime and 80 yards at the end of the third quarter.
TURNING POINT: Austin Peay trailed just 10-3 at halftime, but Montana State safety Brayden Konkol intercepted Austin Peay quarterback JaVaughn Craig on the second play of the second half. The Bobcats scored touchdowns on their next two possessions to take a 24-3 lead and put the game out of reach.
STAT OF THE GAME: Third-down conversions. The Governors entered Friday's game converting 45 percent of their third-down attempts, which was tied for 15th in the FCS, but they were 1-for-14 on Friday. Montana State, meanwhile, converted 9 of 18 third downs.
GAME BALLS: Ifanse, the offensive line, Marks. Ifanse was sensational, showcasing his vision and run-after-contact ability, but the offensive line, anchored by left tackle Mitch Brott, paved the way for his huge performance. Marks was the tone-setter on defense, disrupting the Austin Peay offense early and finishing the game with a strip-sack on the Governors' final offensive play.
WHAT’S NEXT: Montana State (11-3) will face North Dakota State or Illinois State in the semifinal round of the playoffs. The Bison and Redbirds play at 10 a.m. Saturday in a quarterfinal game in Fargo, N.D. NDSU has won seven of the past eight FCS national championships, including each of the past two. The Bison defeated the Bobcats 52-10 in the second round of the 2018 playoffs