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Rapid reaction: No. 4 Montana State 33, Weber State 25

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Posted at 4:01 PM, Dec 03, 2022

BOZEMAN — Montana State is moving on in the FCS playoffs thanks to a 33-25 victory over Big Sky Conference rival Weber State on Saturday at Bobcat Stadium.

Tommy Mellott rushed for 158 yards and threw for 91, and fellow QB Sean Chambers accounted for three touchdowns for the Bobcats. The win sends MSU into the quarterfinal round of the postseason for the third time since 2019.

The game was tied 10-10 following a 15-yard touchdown throw by Weber State’s Bronson Barron to Ty MacPherson in the second quarter, but the Bobcats reeled off 23 points to take command.

Early in the fourth, Chambers hit Willie Patterson with a 47-yard touchdown pass on a reverse flea-flicker to put the Cats ahead 33-10. Weber State rallied but the Bobcats were able to close it out with their running game.

The win was Montana State’s 19th in a row at home, and was its second victory over Weber State this season following a 43-38 triumph over the Wildcats in a wild affair in October.

Turning point: With 2:36 left in the third quarter, Chambers threw a 28-yard TD pass to a wide-open Derryk Snell off of play action to put Montana State ahead 26-10. The touchdown capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive and gave the Bobcats control of what had been a tight game throughout the first half.

Stat of the game: The Bobcats were 6 for 13 on third downs and 1 for 1 on fourth down, helping them reel off 388 rushing yards, 30 first downs and a 38:18 time-of-possession total.

Bobcat game balls: RB Isaiah Ifanse (offense). Mellott was the catalyst again, but Ifanse, returning from a year-long recovery from knee surgery, rushed 10 times for 91 yards in his first game since last year’s national title contest.

DB Ty Okada (defense). MSU’s defense played well despite a suspension to coordinator Willie Mack Garza, and Okada played a big role. Okada finished with six tackles and two big quarterback sacks.

PK Blake Glessner (special teams). Glessner continued his steady late-season kicking, making four straight field goals and propping up the Bobcats’ scoring output when the offense stalled a few times in Weber State territory.

What’s next: The Bobcats (11-1) marched into next week’s quarterfinal round, where it will host William & Mary of the Colonial Athletic Association.

Fifth-seeded William & Mary (11-1) walloped Gardner-Webb 54-14 in their second-round matchup on Saturday. William & Mary is coached by Mike London, who coached Richmond to the FCS title in 2008.