BOZEMAN – On Halloween, Aaron Mason was battling cobwebs. Montana State’s senior running back was back in action Saturday against Idaho State after missing two games due to a concussion.
“I had to get the cobwebs out and get comfortable,” Mason said. “We started being more patient and things just clicked.”
Mason ran for 108 yards and two touchdowns to lead Montana State to a 41-10 win in a Big Sky Conference game.
Mason, who missed games against South Dakota and Eastern Washington, scored on runs of 10 and 5 yards in the second half. Overall, the Bobcats (5-3, 3-2) gained 236 yards on the ground. Quarterbacks Cody Kempt and Mark Iddins combined for 252 as the Bobcats scored a season-high in points.
“We’ve had big yards before but ended up with less points,” Iddins said. “This time we finished our drives.”
For the game, Iddins completed 15 of 26 passes for 169 yards. Kempt, the starter, completed seven of 15 and threw an interception in the end zone, the only time the Bobcats didn’t convert in the red zone.
MSU led 20-10 at the half and poured it on in the second half. Besides Mason’s two scores, Blayde Becksted added a fourth quarter touchdown run.
ISU (0-9, 0-6) totaled 144 yards, 127 through the air and 17 on the ground.
The Bobcats trailed 10-3 late in the second quarter before tying it on a 2-yard run by CJ Palmer. Moments later, defensive back Darius Jones scooped up an ISU fumble and returned it 32 yards to give MSU its first lead, 17-10.
“That fumble was a turning point in the football game and it was a turning point for our football team,” MSU coach Rob Ash said. “We had to have a win and we had to have a decisive win, and we got it.”
After Kevin Retoriano caught an interception thrown by Idaho State quarterback Russell Hill, the Bobcats added a 41-yard field goal by Jason Cunningham to make it 20-10 at the half.
ISU scored first, taking the game’s opening drive 85 yards and scoring on a 16-yard pass from Hill to Roderick Rumble. The scoring catch was the first of the season for the true freshman. ISU’s Jarrett Huk added a 46-yard field goal in the second quarter.
“I thought we played pretty darn well up until the end of the first half,” ISU coach John Zamberlin said. “Then we put the ball on the ground. We couldn’t keep fending them off.”
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