SECOND-HALF COMEBACK LEADS #20 MONTANA STATE TO 20-9 WIN OVER FOOTBALL
BOZEMAN, Mont. — Sacramento State dominated the first half against 20th-ranked Montana State but saw its halftime lead disappear in the second half resulting in a 20-9 victory for the Bobcats on Saturday afternoon.
The win improved MSU to 5-2 on the season and 3-1 in the Big Sky Conference. The Hornets dropped to 1-6 overall and 1-4 in league games.
Sacramento State controlled both sides of the ball in the opening two quarters, but were held to just six points and led 6-0 at halftime. The Hornets compiled 132 yards of total offense in the first quarter while holding Montana State to only 20. Sacramento State scored the only points of the quarter when Juan Gamboa made a 31-yard field goal with 4:18 showing on the clock.
The Bobcats cut the yardage gap in the second quarter but still could not put points on the board. Behind the rushing of junior Travon Jones, who tallied 105 yards in the half, Sacramento State doubled its advantage with a 40-yard field goal from Gamboa with 4:08 left in the half.
Momentum swung to MSU at the start of the second half. Running back Demetrius Crawford darted through the Hornet defense and quarterback Cory Carpenter converted a couple of big third-down passes to give the Bobcats the lead.
Eric Fisher, who replaced Michael Sweeney who missed two field goals in the first half, made a 30-yard attempt in the closing seconds of the first half for Montana State’s first score. The lead then turned to the Bobcats with 11:27 left in the game when Carpenter found tight end Elliott Barnhart on the right sideline for a 39-yard touchdown. On the play, Barnhart caught the pass about 15 yards from the line of scrimmage but spun away from a defender and ran untouched into the end zone.
After stopping the Hornets on the ensuing drive, MSU drove inside the Hornet 10-yard line but was forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal from Fisher. The Bobcats put the game away when Jason Smith was intercepted by Kevin Retoriano at the Hornets’ ?-yard line. Retoriano returned the ball all the way to the 4-yard line and Crawford scored one play later with 2:09 remaining.
Montana State concluded the game outgaining the Hornets, 316-295. However, Jones led all players with a career high 141 rushing yards while Crawford finished with 75.
Smith ended the day 14-of-31 for 157 yards and an interception. He also completed four passes to Ryan Coogler (29 yards) and three to Tony Washington (71 yards).
Defensively, Brett Shelton finished with 11 tackles but left the game in the fourth quarter due to injury, Kevin Davis and Cyrus Mulitalo each added eight tackles.
Montana State was led by Bobby Daly who had a game-high 14 tackles to add to his Big Sky-leading total.
Sacramento State will be home for its next two games beginning against Eastern Washington on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 2:05 p.m.