BOZEMAN — Chris Murray ran for two touchdowns and Montana State defeated Portland State 30-22 on Saturday.
The Bobcats (2-3, 2-1 Big Sky Conference) scored on their first possession of the second half and the Vikings’ following possession to break the game open.
Murray’s second touchdown, a 5-yard run, capped a 12-play, 75-yard drive on the ground. Then PSU punter Hayden Cowden dropped the snap in the MSU end zone and Chad Kanow recovered for another MSU touchdown and a 23-7 lead.
“I knew it was going to be windy today on the walk over here,” MSU coach Jeff Choate said. “With the wind blowing you gotta be able to run.
The Bobcats did just that with 403 yards on the ground and three rushing touchdowns.
“The guys up front responded to the conditions and we got good yards between the tackles,” Choate added.
MSU had four players with at least 58 yards rushing. Troy Anderson had 85 on just eight carries. Nick LaSane and Ed Vander had 63 and 58, respectively.
Murray, who was only 2 of 9 passing in the windy conditions, ran for 126 yards on 18 carries and threw a key block to spring Justin Paige on a 23-yard TD run on a reverse midway through the fourth quarter to seal the win.
Josh Kraght hit Charlie Taumoepeau for a 26-yard touchdown late in the third quarter and a 24-yarder with 1:21 to play for the Vikings (0-5, 0-3). Kraght was 28 of 52 for 317 yards. PSU followed with a goal-line stand as it looked to rally, but a Tyrone Fa’anono sack on a third-down play slowed the Vikings down.
The Vikings finished with 419 yards, but it took them 89 plays to get there with 196 coming in the fourth quarter and they struggled to run the ball all day finishing with 102 yards on 37 carries.
“(MSU’s) middle is strong and their linebackers made plays,” PSU coach Bruce Barnum said. “At 0-5 we have an opportunity to teach young kids to fight through adversity. They’ll show up and get after it next week.”
Cowden was averaging just 29.0 yards per punt before his miscue in the end zone. He also had a punt blocked in the fourth quarter. MSU’s Jared Padmos went with a roll punt and averaged 43.8.