LARAMIE — After 623 days, Montana State football returned with a clash against Wyoming in a game that was a defensive battle. There were only 628 yards of offense in the game and most of it came in the fourth quarter.
Wyoming would win a thriller 19-16.
Montana State’s defense under new coordinator Freddie Banks wasted no time providing a spark for the Bobcats in the first quarter. Junior safety Jeffery Manning Jr. picked off a Sean Chambers pass that put the Bobcats at the Wyoming 15-yard line. NC State transfer quarterback Matthew McKay hit Bozeman’s Lance McCutcheon for a passing touchdown on the very next play.
A few minutes into the fourth quarter with MSU up 7-3, Wyoming running back Xazavian Valladay rushed for a 2-yard touchdown. However, the Cowboys wouldn’t convert the extra point but took the lead, 9-7.
Montana State would answer back on the very next possession. The Bobcats drove into Wyoming territory and attempted a 53-yard field goal with freshman kicker Blake Glessner. He drilled it to put Montana State up 10-9.
After going down 12-10 with 4:03 left in the fourth quarter, Montana State drove the field and McKay hit McCutcheon for a 30-yard pass to put the Bobcats at the Wyoming 1-yard line. Montana State scored a touchdown on a McKay pass to sophomore tight end Treyton Pickering of Sunburst on the next play to put MSU up 16-12. McKay finished the game completing 16 passes on 25 attempts for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
Sean Chambers only needed one minute and 20 seconds to take back the lead when he found his tight end for a 21-yard touchdown. The Cowboys went up 19-16 and hung on for the win.
TURNING POINT: Montana State took a 16-12 lead with 2:07 left in the game and the Wyoming offense only needed a little over a minute to take the lead. The Cowboys drove 65 yards and scored a touchdown on a Sean Chambers 21-yard pass to Treyton Welch to give Wyoming a 19-16 lead.
STAT OF THE GAME: There was only one fumble in the game and it was one that stopped Montana State’s Momentum. The Bobcats were driving down the field up 7-0 when McKay hit his receiver Willie Patterson, but Patterson fumbled and Wyoming took over on their own 25-yard-line.
GAME BALLS: Cowboys quarterback Sean Chambers and the Wyoming defense. When Wyoming needed an answer to score a touchdown with two minutes left, Chambers drove his team 65 yards and threw a strike for a touchdown to his tight end to give his team a lead they would never give back. That was Chambers' only touchdown of the day, but he got it when his team needed him the most. The Wyoming QB finished his day completing 15 passes on 26 attempts with one touchdown and one interception. Defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel, who turned the Cowboys into one of the best FBS defenses in 2020, picked up right where he left off. His defense held Montana State to 281 total yards in the game.
WHAT’S NEXT: On Sept. 11 Montana State (0-1) has its home opener at 6 p.m. against Drake (1-0) for the ‘Gold Rush’ game. The Bulldogs defeated West Virginia Wesleyan 45-3 in their season opener.