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Cat-Griz Report: Griz fight back, Cats fall short

 

October 2, 2017

AP Photo

In this photo provided by Montana State University, Montana State running back Edward Vander (5) is defended by Weber State cornerback Taron Johnson (1) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, in Bozeman. The Bobcats fell to the Wildcats on homecoming.

HILLSBORO, Ore. (AP) — Jeremy Calhoun ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns, Justin Strong had three interceptions and a touchdown and Montana defeated Portland State 45-33 Saturday, finally getting a Big Sky road win.

The Griz didn't have one in 2016, and Calhoun and Strong led them to a tough one at PSU.

Calhoun scored on the opening drive, after a Strong interception on the first play of the game, and late in the second quarter, both on 2-yard runs, and the Grizzlies (3-2, 1-1 Big Sky Conference) led 27-14 at the half.

“He hasn’t had a 100-yard game yet in his career,” Gris head coach Bob Stitt said of Calhoun. “He’s in his third year and he’s scored a lot of touchdowns but never had a 100-yard game. It was huge for him but also huge for the offensive line to block for a 100-yard rusher.”

Gresch Jensen threw for 284 yards, including a 60-yard catch-and-run TD by Keenan Curran in the third quarter.

The Vikings (0-4, 0-1) closed within 37-27 on an 87-yard kickoff return by Kahlil Dawson after a Montana field goal, which was set up by Strong's second interception, in the first minute of the fourth quarter. Strong iced the game with a 64-yard interception return with 3:15 to play. Strong had 116 return yards on his three picks.

“Our defense was resilient today,” Jensen said. “What can you say about Justin Strong? That guy’s awesome.”

Josh Kraght, who ran for 132 yards and a touchdown, hit Trent Riley for a late 25-yard touchdown but Connor Strahm picked off the conversion attempt and went 98 yards for the final two Montana points. Kraght passed for 249 yards.

The game was moved from the Vikings' home field at Providence Park because of a conflict with a women's pro soccer game.

Montana returns to the road this Saturday for a game against a vastly improved Idaho State.

Weber State 25, Bobcats 17

BOZEMAN (AP) — Trey Tuttle connected on all four of his field goal attempts to push Weber State to a 25-17 win over Montana State.

While Tuttle was perfect, Montana State kicker Gabe Peppenger missed two of three attempts and the Bobcats couldn’t overcome the Wildcats.

Montana State (1-3, 1-1 Big Sky) drove deep into Weber State territory on its first three possessions, but managed just one field goal. Tuttle hit on three in the first half to put the Wildcats up 9-3.

“I knew that would come back to haunt us,” Montana State coach Jeff Choate said of the missed opportunities. “We might overcome that against a team not as talented as Weber State.”

Chris Murray hit Lance McCutcheon on a 65-yard pass down the sideline as the first half came to a close with the Bobcats ahead 10-9.

Kevin Smith scored on a 6-yard run early in the third quarter to give Weber State the lead at 15-10. Hunter Cantwell followed with a one-yard sneak for a score that put the Wildcats in control at 22-10.

Cantwell finished with 206 yards passing and 49 yards rushing. The Wildcats held the ball for more than 40 minutes despite outgaining Montana State 369 yards to 363. The Bobcats had five plays over 25 yards, while the Wildcats longest play was 25 yards.

“That’s the best FCS team we’ve played this year,” said Choate, who has faced No. 4 South Dakota State and No. 19 North Dakota the previous two games. “I knew they’d come out hot in the second half.”

Montana State scored on a 25-yard wide receiver pass from Kevin Kassis back to Murray to draw the Bobcats to 22-17, but Weber State drove to the MSU 5 before adding Tuttle’s last field goal. The drive was aided by a roughing-the-passer penalty on third-and-11.

Montana State had a first down called back on a holding penalty on its final drive and turned the ball over on downs from there.

Murray threw for 124 yards, ran for 123 and had 25 yards receiving. Edward Vander rushed for 73 yards on six carries for MSU.

The Bobcats remain at home to take on Portland State this Saturday.

Note: Havre Daily News sports editor George Ferguson contributed to this story.

 

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