BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Troy Andersen ran for a touchdown and threw for another to lead Montana State to a 35-14 win over Incarnate Word in the first round of the FCS playoffs on Saturday.
His touchdown run was his school-record 20th of the season, while his touchdown pass was just his third. He also broke the Big Sky Conference quarterback rushing record midway through the game.
“Their QB is a special, tough guy,” UIW coach Eric Morris said of Andersen. “He defines what Montana State football is all about.”
MSU (8-4) got a key touchdown early in the fourth quarter when Travis Jonsen scored on a keeper from the 19 to push its lead to 28-14 after a personal foul moved the ball back from the 4-yard-line. On their next possession, Andersen hit Jonsen from 37 yards out to put the Bobcats up 35-14.
Sean Brophy, filling in for the injured Jon Copeland, was making his first start of the season after starting all the games last year for Incarnate Word (6-5 Southland Conference). He connected with Jalen Campbell in the first quarter to tie the game. Brophy completed his first seven passes. He led the Cardinals to another score to start the second half, hitting Kody Edwards from 33 yards to cut MSU’s lead to 18-14.
MSU finished with 339 yards rushing on 66 carries and held a 41:22 to 18:38 time of possession advantage.
“We just keep coming and keep hitting them in the mouth,” Andersen said of the MSU run game. “Our offensive line kept wearing on them.”
Lance McCutcheon got MSU on the board first when he plucked a blocked punt out of the air on Incarnate Word’s first possession and returned it 11 yards for a TD. Nolan Askelson blocked the punt.
Following a safety that was created by Grant Collins forcing Brophy into intentionally grounding the ball from the end zone, the Bobcats drove to the Cardinals 11, but failed on a fake field goal.
Isaiah Ifanse ran for 171 yards on 30 carries and broke the school freshman rushing record, while also going over 1,000 yards. Andersen completed 12 of 19 passes for 164 yards and ran for another 84 yards on 21 rushes. Brayden Konkol had a forced fumble, fumble recovery, interception and a sack.
Brophy finished 22 of 35 for 313 yards and two TD passes.
Montana State: The Bobcats will travel to Fargo, North Dakota, for a second-round game against reigning FCS champion North Dakota State.