BOZEMAN — It was senior day for the 8-1 Montana State Bobcats football team as they hosted their last regular season home game against the 3-6 Idaho Vandals.
As head coach Brent said earlier this week, MSU is trying to give their seniors a few more home games this year, alluding to a playoff run at Bobcat Stadium.
Montana State won the toss and chose to kickoff to Idaho. The defense would force a punt and a few plays later the Bobcats would march down the field for a touchdown. Butte native and freshman quarterback Tommy Mellott scored on a nine-yard run and MSU took a 7-0 lead with just under four minutes left in the first quarter.
On the Bobcats ensuing possession they would reach the red zone, but quarterback Matthew McKay would throw his second interception of the year that found the arms of Idaho redshirt fresman Marcus Harris.
The Vandals would capitalize off of the Bobcats mistake as they drove down the field and redshirt sophomore kicker Logan Prescott kicked a 40-yard field goal to cut their deficit to four.
Montana State would answer right back. Mellott would come in and run 23 yards, breaking multiple tackles along the way to find pay dirt for his second rushing touchdown of the day. The extra point was blocked. 13-3, MSU.
Before the end of the first half, the Vandals would drive 74 yards in 1:15 on six plays to score a touchdown. Zach Borisch threw a 30-yard pass to Terez Traynor and Montana State would head into the locker room at half-time with a 13-10 lead.
In the second half, Montana state would start with the ball and turn it over on downs in Idaho territory.
Idaho had the ball at the MSU 17-yard line, but Borisch would be sacked at the 24-yard-line by Cats senior defensive lineman Chase Benson. The sack would cost the Vandals as Prescott would miss a 41-yard field goal.
Montana State wouldn’t do anything on their next possession and give the ball right back to Idaho near midfield. The Vandals would get to the Bobcats 29-yard-line and settle for a Prescott field goal to tie the game at 13 with two minutes left in the third quarter.
It would take nearly a whole quarter before someone scored again to break the tie. After a bad Idaho punt that set up the Bobcats in Idaho territory, Montana State utilized running back Lane Sumner and Mellott on the ground to have a drive that found the end zone. Mellott finished off the drive with a three-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes remaining, his third of the day.
The Bobcats defense held onto the game from there to earn a hard fought victory.
TURNING POINT: After a nice punt by Bryce Leighton that pinned Idaho inside their own 10, Montana State’s defense would force the Vandals to go three and out. The Vandals then had a bad punt that would set the Bobcats up at the Idaho 37-yard line. Montana State would score a three-yard rushing touchdown by Tommy Mellot with a little over two minutes remaining.
STAT OF THE GAME: 258. Montana State’s passing game struggled, but the rushing attack was there to pick them up. Isaiah Ifanse led the ground game as he had 9 rushes for 84 yards before going down with an injury.
GAME BALLS: Freshman quarterback Tommy Mellott and senior linebacker Troy Andersen /Montana State’s defense.
Whenever Montana State needed a spark on offense they put the Butte native in the game and it paid off. Mellott rushed for three touchdowns on the day. He had 13 rushes for 68 yards.
In his last regular season home game, Troy Andersen was all over the field. He finished the day with 17 tackles.
The defense as a whole continued to shine. They had five sacks on the day, two by senior defensive end Daniel Hardy.
WHAT'S NEXT: The Bobcats (9-1) wrap up their regular season for the highly anticipated ‘Brawl of the Wild' game against the Montana Grizzlies (8-2) at Washington-Grizzly Stadium. Kickoff starts at noon.