MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Senior running back Logan Jones’ 13-yard touchdown run with 2:19 left pushed Montana State into the lead, and a goal-line fumble with under 10 seconds left sealed the Bobcats’ 29-25 win over Montana in the 118th “Brawl of the Wild” game Saturday.
Jones’ touchdown came a few moments after Montana State (7-4, 5-3 Big Sky Conference) forced a fumble by Montana quarterback Dalton Sneed and Grant Collins recovered for MSU.
The Grizzlies, who’d squandered a 22-7 halftime lead, then drove to the MSU 1-yard line only to see MSU’s Tucker Yates force a fumble by the Grizzlies’ Adam Eastwood. Derek Marks recovered for the Bobcats, clinching the game.
It was the third straight loss in the intrastate rivalry for the Grizzlies (6-5, 4-4), who were holding slim hopes of their first playoff berth since 2015. Montana State will learn Sunday if it has earned a berth in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Sneed, a junior, threw for 354 yards and two touchdowns, including a 37-yard strike to Samuel Akem that made it 22-0 in favor of Montana at 8:15 of the second quarter.
Montana State imposed its will from there behind sophomore quarterback Troy Andersen, who ran for 107 yards and three touchdowns. He capped a 72-yard drive to close the first half with a 3-yard scoring run and added two 1-yard touchdown runs in the fourth quarter.
The second score in the final quarter came just after Montana’s Tim Semenza hit a 34-yard field goal for a 25-15 Montana lead.
The Grizzlies scored on the first drive of the game, with Sneed flipping a 1-yard “fly sweep” pass to Gabe Sulser for the TD. The lead grew to 14-0 when Eastwood’s 1-yard run capped a 58-yard drive with 13:30 left in the first half.
Keenan Curran had eight catches for 111 yards for the Grizzlies, while Akem had six receptions for 147 yards.
Montana State: The Bobcats forced two second-half fumbles to forge a lead and seal the outcome after trailing 22-7 at halftime. It was their third straight win in the series.
Montana: The Grizzlies led 22-0 midway through the second quarter but foundered offensively and seemed to tire against the running and throwing of MSU quarterback Andersen.
Montana State: The Bobcats will learn Sunday if they get an at-large berth in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.
Montana: The Grizzlies will miss the FCS playoffs for a third straight year, coinciding with three straight losses in this intrastate rivalry.