BOZEMAN – Dakota Prukop threw for 399 yards and three touchdowns and Chad Newell ran for 111 yards and three more scores to help lead Montana State to a Cal Poly 45-28 win over Cal Poly on Saturday.
“That was one of the best total team efforts we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said MSU head coach Rob Ash, who was coaching his 100th game with the Bobcats. “Every guy was locked in on the sideline, because we knew the stakes were high.”
Montana State’s Beau Sandland caught 5 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns. The tight end is the roommate of Prukop, who noted that they had fooled the Mustangs on their first score of the second half.
“It looks like zone read on that play, but we’re scoring touchdowns,” he said.
“That’s the guy we were talking about and it all came together for him today,” Ash said.
“I just had to catch and then run the ball,” Sandland said. “A lot my catches were uncontested.”
Montana State (2-1, 1-0 Big Sky) took a 28-7 lead early in the second quarter, but Cal Poly whittled it down to 31-21 when Kori Garcia scored from six yards out with 23 seconds left in the first half.
Both offenses piled up yards in the first half. MSU’s Prukop was 12 of 16 for 291 yards and two long touchdowns of 88 and 63 yards. MSU had 397 total yards. Cal Poly’s option attack was good for 215 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries by halftime. Protheroe had 93 and Garcia 86 of those.
Montana State kicked off to start the third quarter and scored touchdowns on consecutive drives to open up a 45-21 lead. The Bobcats scored on their first seven possessions of the game.
The Bobcat defense stopped the Mustangs (1-3, 0-1) on their first two drives of the second half and took over from there with touchdown drives of 72 and 65 yards.
(Those stops) were absolutely critical,” Ash said. “We were concerned that they had the ball to start the half, but we got a stop on downs. That was the Bignell show. (Linebacker) Mac had a couple stops to set it up, then (defensive tackle) Nate had a really nice tackle on fourth down.”
The Bobcats held Cal Poly to five yards per play a week after allowing Eastern Washington nearly 12 yards per attempt. MSU finished with 602 total yards, while the Mustangs had 406. It was the second straight week over 600 yards for the Bobcats.
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