MISSOULA – Montana quarterback Andrew Selle got his chance to show what he could do on a full-time basis Saturday against Portland State.
Salle and Justin Roper had alternated at the QB spot for the first two games of the season, but after Roper went down with an undisclosed injury in the second quarter, Selle came off the bench and took over. He threw three touchdown passes and lead Montana to a 49-17 win in the Big Sky Conference opener for both teams.
“It was nice to get in a rhythm,” Selle said. “In the first two games, I can’t say I was doing anything different. But today the receivers were doing a good job getting open and the offensive line did a great job.”
The win upped Montana’s record to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference, while Portland State dropped to 1-2 and 0-1.
The game started out slowly for Montana as Portland State jumped to a 14-0 lead, scoring on its first two possessions on a 3-yard run by Ben Bowen and a 38-yard pass from Drew Hubel to Lavonte Kirven.
One play after a Portland State penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct kept a Grizzly drive alive, Marc Mariani caught a slant pass from Justin Roper and turned it into a 56-yard scoring play to get Montana on the scoreboard to cut the Vikings’ lead to 14-7.
“We had a couple three-and-outs and Portland State did some good things early on,” said Montana coach Bobby Hauck. “But Marc made a big play and got us back in the game. When playmakers make plays, teams have success on offense.”
On the Vikings’ next possession, a fourth-down snap sailed over punter Thomas Duyndam’s head and Montana’s Jordan Tripp pounced on the ball in the end zone to tie the game at 14-14 in the second quarter.
Montana built a 28-14 lead on a 1-yard TD run by Beau Donaldson and a 14-yard TD pass from Selle to Steve Pfahler.
Zach Brown cut Montana’s lead to 28-17 with a 20-yard field goal before halftime.
The second half was all Montana as Chase Reynolds scored on a 4-yard run, and Selle hit Mariani on a 45-yard touchdown pass and Donaldson a 6-yard scoring pass.
Mariani finished the game with four catches for 130 yards. Selle completed 14-of-23 passes for 213 yards and added another 41 yards on the ground.
For Portland State, Hubel completed 25-of-51 passes for 325 yards, but threw three interceptions. Bobby McClintock racked up 127 total yards 60 on the ground and 67 through the air on seven catches.
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