BOZEMAN, Mont. --- Ryan Johnson rushed for 176 yards and a touchdown to lead Montana State to a 20-0 win over Sacramento State, Saturday afternoon at a blustery Bobcat Stadium.
The win improved the Bobcats to 4-2 overall and 3-0 in the Big Sky Conference. The Hornets fell to 2-4 overall and 1-3 in league games. The shutout was the first against Sacramento State since Cal Poly cruised to a 45-0 win in the final game of the 1997 season.
Montana State controlled the game with its ground attack and a strong defensive effort. The Bobcats rushed for 201 yards as a team and held the ball for 34:47. The defensive unit, limited Sacramento State to a Div. I-AA era low 128 yards and just 16 rushing yards.
MSU jumped on the board first when Andre Ware caught a 23-yard touchdown pass with 12:35 left in the first quarter. The TD was set up when Sacramento State after a botched punt deep in Hornet territory. On the play, the snap hit off the hip of Ramon Payne who was in motion and was recovered by Sacramento State for a one yard loss.
Neither team was able to muster much for the remainder of the off as both squads struggled with the wind which gusted upwards of 40 miles per hour. Montana State was finally able to break through with 2:30 left in the half on a 43-yard field goal by Nate Cook to give the team a 10-3 lead at halftime.
Johnson added to the lead with a 1-yard dive with 3:20 left in the third quarter. Cook rounded out the scoring with a 31-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter.
Freshman quarterback Ryan Leadingham finished the day 13-for-31 for 112 yards. Leadingham was under pressure the entire day and was sacked five times. Derard Barton accumulated the most rushing yards for the team but still ended the day with a paultry 27 yards on 11 carries.
Sacramento State will return home for a pair of home games beginning on Oct. 20 against Eastern Washington. The team will then face UC Davis on Oct. 27. Both games are scheduled to begin at 6:05 p.m.