BOZEMAN — Nick LaSane rushed for 121 yards and a touchdown, true freshman Troy Andersen ran for two touchdowns and Montana State knocked off rival Montana 31-23 on Saturday to take home the Great Divide Trophy for the second straight year.
MSU (5-6, 5-3 Big Sky Conference) built a 21-10 late in the third quarter when Anderson bolted 19 yards off the right side for a score. His run followed an electric 71-yard touchdown run by LaSane.
The Grizzlies (7-4, 5-3) closed to with 31-23 when Keenan Curran made a circus catch in the end zone of Gresch Jensen’s 32-yard pass. Then Montana drove to the MSU 28, but turned the ball over on downs when true freshman Tyrel Thomas broke up a fourth down pass with four seconds to play..
“When you make a play like that to end this game you’ll be remembered forever,” MSU senior linebacker Mac Bignell said of Thomas. “He probably doesn’t know that because he’s a true freshman, but because it’s the Cat-Griz game people will remember that play forever.”
MSU quarterback Chris Murray ran for 99 yards and added a 4-yard for a score to put MSU up 31-16 with 6:20 remaining. The Bobcats piled up 322 yards on the ground. Murray was 10 for 15 passing for 98 yards.
Jensen went 30 for 49 for 326 yards. Curran finished with 109 receiving yards, while Jerry Louis-McGee had 95. Jeremy Calhoun had 63 yards rushing on 12 carries and ran for a touchdown.
“We knew they’d get their yards,” MSU coach Jeff Choate said. “But we tell our guys ‘stats are for losers’ and the only stat that matters is the final score.”
It was the first back-to-back wins for MSU since the 2002-2003 seasons and the first home win since 2005.
Both teams are likely done for the season. UM was a lock for the FCS playoffs if it had won. At 7-4 they still have outside chance of being selected.
There was some controversy during the game over the headsets and both teams had to work without after MSU’s were considered inoperable.
“I had to start calling plays from the field,” UM coach Bob Stitt said. “It’s a silly rule.”