FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Tommy Mellott magic rescued Montana State on Saturday.
Mellott’s third-down heave to Taco Dowler with under a minute to play went for 64 yards and set up a 24-yard field goal by Blake Glesser on the last play of the game to give the No. 3-ranked Bobcats a 41-38 victory over Northern Arizona at the Walkup Skydome.
Being chased toward the right sideline with the game tied 38-38, Mellott fired a pass over the NAU defense as his momentum carried him out of bounds. Dowler hauled it in and ran with the ball before being hauled down at the 18-yard line.
Running back Elijah Elliott then ran 17 yards to the 1, and Glessner, after a Mellott run for no gain and a false-start penalty, was true on his game-winning kick.
The Bobcats led 17-0 in the first quarter but almost let the game slip away. With the win, they remained undefeated in the Big Sky Conference at 6-0 and improved their overall mark to 8-1. Northern Arizona dropped to 2-4 in the league and 3-6 overall.
Turning point: With so many twists and turns, you had the sense that whoever had the ball last would win. That’s exactly what happened.
But Montana State’s defense, which gave up chunk plays all day, stood firm on NAU’s final possession and held the Lumberjacks — who had been scoring touchdowns all day — to a 46-yard field goal by Collin Robbins that tied the game 38-38 with 1:05 remaining.
That set the stage for Mellott’s magical toss to Dowler and, ultimately, the victory.
Stat of the game: Northern Arizona quarterback R.J. Martinez had a huge game. Martinez finished with 452 yards on 34-of-46 passing and three touchdowns. He also ran for a TD and caught a scoring pass. NAU's offense finished with 552 total yards.
Bobcat game balls: QB Tommy Mellott (offense). What else can you say? Mellott rushed for 119 yards and three touchdowns, threw for 179 yards and another score and saved the Bobcats with a clutch throw when they needed it the most.
DE Brody Grebe (defense). Before he left with an injury, Grebe had five tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery from his defensive end position.
PK Blake Glessner (special teams). Glessner was good on both of his field goal tries — a 30-yarder in the first quarter and the deciding 24-yarder on the final play of the game.
What’s next: The Bobcats are on the road next week when they face Cal Poly. It is the game before the game — their 121st meeting with archrival Montana on Nov. 19 in Bozeman.