Montana Tallies to Defeat Cal Poly 35-23

By Beacon Staff

MISSOULA – Montana’s offense started slow Saturday, failing to record a first down in the first quarter against Cal Poly.

But then the Grizzlies two big playmakers, running back Chase Reynolds and receiver Marc Mariani, took over. Reynolds scored three touchdowns and rushed for 109 yards and Mariani hauled in six catches for 200 yards and two scores to lead Montana to a 35-23 victory.

“The big plays are crucial,” Montana coach Bobby Hauck said. “Your playmakers have to make plays. We needed those guys to make plays when they have the opportunity, and they did.”

Montana overcome five turnovers, four in the first half, to remain undefeated (5-0).

“We turned the ball over more in the first half than we do in a good month around here,” Hauck said. “We felt very fortunate to be only down by three at the half (17-14).”

Mariani scored on pass plays of 84 and 68 yards, and Reynolds found the end zone twice — on a 3-yard run and an 8-yard pass — in the fourth quarter when Montana scored 21 points to overcome a 17-14 deficit. Reynolds also scored on a 36-yard pass from Andrew Selle just before halftime.

The Mustangs (2-3) took a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard run by Tony Smith with 3:58 to play in the opening quarter and stretched the advantage to 10-0 on a Chris Pinto field goal with 11:19 left in the second.

Montana got on the board with 8:15 remaining in the half on an 84-yard pass from Justin Roper to Mariani.

“I don’t really like to get hit so I run away from people coming after me,” Mariani said of his long touchdowns.

Jordan Yocum led the Mustangs with 119 rushing yards and scored on a 1-yard run to give Cal Poly a 17-7 lead with 1:09 remaining before halftime.