SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Montana State was dominant Saturday night, and now heads into the 121st matchup with Montana in line to win at least a share of the Big Sky Conference crown.
The Bobcats rushed for 554 yards in a 72-28 blowout of Cal Poly at Spanos Stadium. Marqui Johnson, a receiver and kickoff returner, was plugged into the running back rotation and had 242 yards and four touchdowns on the ground for MSU.
The Bobcats eclipsed 300 rushing yards for the fifth time this season, but they didn’t stop there: MSU broke the previous school record for single-game rushing yards of 483 against Fresno State in 1973 and broke the school mark with 744 total yards, eclipsing the 737 they achieved against UC Davis in 2014.
QB Tommy Mellott was replaced by backup Sean Austin at the outset of the third quarter. Injured QB Sean Chambers was back in uniform but did not play.
MSU will bring a 9-1 overall record and a 7-0 mark into next week’s game with Montana and has a chance to run the table in the league and claim, at least, a split championship.
Turning point: There wasn’t one. The Bobcats were in command from the start and scored 51 of their points in the first half.
One of the most demoralizing first-half plays for Cal Poly, though, occurred when Ben Seymour returned a fumble 26 yards for a touchdown to give Montana State a 38-7 lead.
Stat of the game: Aside from the yards and points, one key stat the Bobcats can look at for their success was an 11-for-14 conversion rate on third down. MSU’s offense finished the game with 30 first downs.
Bobcat game balls: WR Marqui Johnson (offense). Plugged into the backfield rotation, Johnson couldn’t be stopped. He had all of his 242 rushing yards and four TDs in the first half alone, including a long run of 78 yards. Johnson averaged 18.6 yards on 13 carries.
DE Kenneth Eiden IV (defense). Starting in place of the injured Brody Grebe, Eiden made a big play in the second quarter when he forced a fumble from QB Spencer Brasch that was scooped up and returned for a TD by Seymour.
PK Blake Glessner (special teams). Glessner continued his reliable kicking, going 3 for 3 on field goals of 46, 31 and 32 yards. Glessner has hit five straight field goals in the past two games.
What’s next: The Bobcats have the chance to run the table in the Big Sky Conference for the first time since 1976 when they host their archrivals, the Montana Grizzlies, for the 121st meeting between the schools next week.
The Grizzlies lead the all-time series against the Bobcats 73-41-5, but MSU has won six of the past 10 meetings. Montana won last season’s game in Missoula, 29-10.