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Cats, Griz roll in second half of night games

Cat-Griz Report

 

September 9, 2019

406 Sports

Montana State's Troy Andersen runs with the ball during Saturday night's Gold Rush Game in Bozeman. The Bobcats thumped Southeast Missouri State in front of a sold-out Bobcat Stadium. Up the road in Missoula, the Montana Grizzlies did much the same to North Alabama in their home-opener under the lights of Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

The third quarter proved to be the magical moment in home-opening night games for both the Montana State Bobcats and Montana Grizzlies.

Saturday night in Bozeman, the No. 13 Bobcats Gold Rushed the No. 12 Southeast Missouri State Redhawks with an explosive third quarter on offense in a 38-17 win at sold-out Bobcat Stadium.

The game was tied 10-10 at halftime, but sparked by Troy Andersen and a bevy of other runners, the 13th-ranked Bobcats gave No. 12 SEMO no chance in front of a yellow-clad, sellout crowd of 19,497. Taking the opening kickoff in the third quarter, MSU (1-1) marched down the field, where a 9-yard run by true freshman DeMareus Hosey made it 17-10. The key play was a 44-yard jaunt by Andersen, who finished with 102 yards while getting a quarterback sack from his defensive linebacker position.

After a SEMO punt, Andersen ended another Bobcat drive with a 2-yard dash. His yardage on offense gives him over 2,000 in his career. The rushing touchdown was his second of the night, giving him 28 in his career, good for fourth on the Bobcats' all-time list, one more than the legendary Ryan Johnson.

Leading 24-10, the Bobcats weren't done as Logan Jones took a shovel pass from Travis Jonsen and scampered 55 yards around the right end, making it 31-10. The Bobcats' final score came on a 4-yard run by Karl Tucker II.

  For the quarter, MSU outgained SEMO 250 to 44 while shutting out the Redhawks 28-0. A late score by SEMO's Mark Robinson accounted for the final score.

  Sparked by Bryce Sterk, the Bobcats sacked SEMO (1-1) quarterback Daniel Santacaterina five times, three by Sterk. and MSU also got an interception by JoJo Henderson.

  Up 10-0 in the second quarter thanks to Andersen's first score, a 38-yarder, and a 34-yard field goal by Tristan Bailey, a few miscues by MSU allowed the Redhawks to tie the game at halftime. A dropped snap by MSU's punter gave SEMO the ball on the 9-yard line, resulting in a 5-yard touchdown toss from Santacaterina to Zion Curtis.

  Isaiah Ifanse answered with a 62-yard gallop, but a series of snafus pushed the Bobcats back and led to a missed field goal. And on the final play of the half, an interception by Jahque Alleyne was negated by a roughing the passer call. Making the most of the opportunity, Kendrick Tiller slipped a 55-yard field goal over the crossbar to tie the game, 10-10. Ifanse finished the night with 114 yards on the ground, all in the first half as he didn't return to the game after halftime due to an undetermined injury.

The Cats will play another tough FCS opponent when they travel to Western Illinois this Saturday.

Griz 61, N. Alabama 17

MISSOULA — Night games at Washington-Grizzly Stadium are always special. But the third quarter of Saturday night's game against North Alabama was one for the ages.

Trailing 17-16 at halftime, the No. 22 Grizzlies ambushed the Liones, scoring 24 straight points to take the halftime deficit and turn it into 40-17 lead in front of a raucous crowd of 25,000 fans.

The win extends Montana's streak in home openers to 16, although it didn't look like a sure thing for much of the first half. A resilient UNA team gave the Grizzlies fits in the first half and had a lead at the break, but the defense pitched a second-half shutout to go along with countless highlights from the offense and special teams for the dominant victory from head coach Bobby Hauck and the Grizzlies.

  "I thought that North Alabama, they are a physical team, I thought they tackled well, and they did a nice job," Hauck said. "They were ready to go and handled things. We probably helped them a little bit, so at halftime, we said, 'Our stuff is good. Our plan is sound. We just need to play better,' and that's what we did, we played better in the second half."

  Montana threw for nearly 300 yards and ran for 234, picking up 34 first downs along the way. The Grizzlies wore down the Lions, running nearly 90 plays. It all came down to the second half, however, as Montana outgained the Lions 304-66 and scored 45 unanswered points.

  The defense played a huge role in that, forcing four second-half turnovers as North Alabama struggled to get any momentum offensively. The Grizzly defense allowed just four first downs and stopped the Lions on all seven third downs they faced in the second half.

  "Those interceptions were good and opportune for our team … . You get turnovers, you get a chance to win," Hauck said following the game.

 There was a special feeling in the air the first time that Jerry Louie-McGee stepped back to field a punt. Chants of, "Jerry, Jerry, Jerry!" erupted from the student section. By the end of the night, the entire stadium was cheering his name. On his first return, he busted off a 36-yard return to set up Montana's first touchdown of the game.

  Then on return number two, Louie-McGee went 29 yards and set up another Montana touchdown. But on the third return, he brought the house down. Louie-McGee weaved his way through the North Alabama coverage, scoring on a 74-yard punt return, the third of his career.

 Oh, and he also caught seven passes for 78 yards, bringing his all-purpose yards to 228. Not a bad night for "Mr. Electricity."

  "It's unreal. When you're out there, I stay focused and watch the ball, but it's pretty humbling," Louie-McGee said of the crowd's support. "It's a blessing that it's possible. I appreciate the fans and all that comes with that."

After a long opening drive for Northern Alabama, Dareon Nash climbed the ladder to deflect the ball away, and Robby Hauck came in for the save, sliding in the end zone to make an interception and stop an impressive first drive for the visiting Lions.

  Gabe Sulser then drove the Grizzlies into the red zone with a 17-yard rush on third down. Marcus Knight later picked up the first rushing touchdown of his Montana career to cap off the drive and give Montana an early 7-0 lead.

  The Lions answered with a 75-yard touchdown of their own to level the game, and eventually took the air out of the stadium by taking a 17-16 lead into half.

  To start the second half, Montana put together an efficient drive with plenty of touches by Louie-McGee. Knight walked into the endzone untouched to give Montana the lead again at 23-17.

 Gavin Robertson then dove for an interception on a deep pass on the following North Alabama drive. The Grizzlies again entered UNA territory, and Purdy matched his career-long with a 47-yard field goal. The tide had officially turned in the game.

Montana's defense forced yet another turnover on the ensuing drive, as No. 99 Alex Gubner dropped back into coverage and made a leaping interception, returning it for seven yards.

 Louie-McGee's second return then set up another Knight touchdown. The sophomore running back eluded four defenders on an impressive 24-yard score that put Montana ahead 33-17.

  Montana's defense forced another three-and-out, and once again North Alabama made the mistake of putting the ball in the hands of Mr. Electricity. Louie McGee weaved his way through the coverage, scoring a 74-yard touchdown on the punt return. His third return brought his total to 134 yards on just three punt returns.

  The massive 24-point quarter gave the Grizzlies a comfortable 40-17 lead heading into the fourth quarter, but they weren't done yet. A couple plays into the final frame, Sneed found Matt Rensvold for a nine-yard score that gave the Grizzlies a 30-point lead.

Dalton Sneed ended the night 24-of-38 for 269 yards and a touchdown. He also ran the ball for 27 yards and another score. Nick Ostmo had a good day in a backup running back role, toting it for 31 yards on eight attempts. Samori Toure had seven catches for 73 yards, Samuel Akem had five for 72 yards, and six other Grizzlies caught a pass.

  Dante Olson and Robby Hauck each had nine tackles, and Gavin Robertson had a good game with seven tackles and an interception. Josh Sandry had a couple of big hits on the night and recorded a sack. Patrick O'Connell also had a sack, the first of his career.

The Griz (2-0) will now have to play the role of big underdog when they travel to famed Auzten Stadium this Saturday night to take on Pac 12 powerhouse, the University of Oregon.

 

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