BOZEMAN (AP) – Lex Hilliard rushed for 181 yards and three touchdowns Saturday and Montana capped an unbeaten season with a 41-20 victory over rival Montana State.
Cole Bergquist passed for 274 yards and two touchdowns to Eric Allen while Dan Carpenter kicked two field goals and set an FCS scoring record for kickers in the win.
No. 3 Montana (11-0, 8-0 Big Sky) earned the league’s automatic bid in the FCS playoffs and will learn its first-round opponent on Sunday.
Demetrius Crawford rushed for 112 yards and two first-half touchdowns for Montana State (6-5, 4-4), the second one giving the Bobcats a 14-6 lead with 2:42 left in the half.
Hilliard’s first score, a 2-yard run, pulled Montana to 14-13 with 42 seconds left in the half and gave him the school record for career touchdowns.
Colt Anderson intercepted MSU on its first play from scrimmage in the second half. Five plays later Bergquist hit Allen on a 31-yard scoring strike less than three minutes into the half.
The two connected on a 23-yard pass with 13:45 remaining to give the Grizzlies a 27-14 lead. Allen had 89 yards receiving.
The Bobcats pulled to 27-20 on a 1-yard dive by Isaiah Taito with 9:24 remaining, but Craig Mettler blocked the extra point.
The Grizzlies’ next drive lasted six minutes and ended with a 2-yard TD run by Hilliard that extended Montana’s lead to 34-20 with 3:38 remaining.
Loren Utterback intercepted MSU quarterback Jack Rolovich on the first play of the next possession and Hilliard broke loose for a 31-yard scoring run with 2:35 remaining.
Rolovich completed 15 of 27 passes for 240 yards.
Carpenter hit field goals of 51 and 42 yards in the first quarter, tying Marty Zendejas of Nevada with 72 in his career. With his five extra points, Carpenter has 403 career points, breaking the FCS career scoring record for kickers set by Montana kicker Chris Snyder from 2000-2003.
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