BOZEMAN — Montana State forced and recovered a fumble on its first defensive play of the game, scored five plays later, and the Bobcats demolished the rival Montana Grizzlies 48-14 on Saturday afternoon at Bobcat Stadium.
Dalton Sneed passed to Samori Toure on the first play from scrimmage, but Jahque Alleyne was credited with a forced fumble, and Derek Marks scooped it up to bring the Bobcat Stadium crowd to its feet. Kevin Kassis scored on a reverse five plays later and the Bobcats never looked back.
Montana State rushed for 385 yards on 59 carries, scoring six times on the ground. The Bobcats’ defense also recorded six sacks, an interception by Brayden Konkol and an impressive eight pass breakups. Isaiah Ifanse rushed 21 times for 171 yards and three touchdowns, while the Bobcats totaled 382 rushing yards and six scores on the ground.
TURNING POINT: Montana’s fumble on the first offensive play of the game. That turnover, coupled with Kassis’ touchdown moments later, set the tone for the rest of the game for Montana State.
STAT OF THE GAME: Montana State’s 382 rushing yards. One week after the Grizzlies, which ranked No. 2 in the Big Sky Conference in rush defense per game, allowing only 112.6 yards per contest, gave up only 69 yards to powerful Weber State, the Bobcats ran at, around and through the UM defense. Isaiah Ifanse (171) and Logan Jones (121) each topped the century mark, while Tyrone Marshall came close with 81 yards.
GAME BALLS: Ifanse, Jones and MSU’s offensive line. It was no secret the Bobcats would try to establish the ground game, but perhaps even coach Jeff Choate couldn’t have imagined the success MSU would have against Montana’s No. 2-ranked rush defense in the Big Sky. That started with the offensive line, while Ifanse, Jones and even Marshall took advantage of the opportunities, with Ifanse and Jones both rushing for more than 100 yards in the win. Bryce Sterk had 2.5 sacks as the MSU defense gave up only 241 yards to the Grizzlies offense, including no points in the second half.
WHAT’S NEXT: Both Montana State (9-3, 6-2) and Montana (9-3, 6-2) will learn their postseason fate on Sunday. The FCS playoff selection show begins at 10:30 a.m. (MST) on ESPNU.